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March 19, 2021

Celebrating History-Making Women Sailors

March is Women’s History Month, and we’d like to pay homage to women sailors who pushed against the tide of sailing’s traditional hierarchy to forge their way into sailing’s record books.

Women’s History Month was created in 1981 as a national celebration of the contributions women have made to the USA across a wide range of fields. In focusing on sailing, we came up with the following list of women who we think make the cut. In reading the list you may notice that they’re not all American sailors, but we believe that all sailors, women and men, who go beyond the known parameters, and beyond their own comfort zones, are likely to have contributed to or directly altered the course of sailing in the USA.

Women sailors
We start with Dawn Riley — the first American sailor (man or woman) to sail in three America’s Cups and two Whitbread Round the World races. She is also the first woman to manage an America’s Cup syndicate.
© 2021 Dwan Riley
Jeanne Socrates completed her first solo circumnavigation in 2008 at the age of 65 and five years later became the oldest woman to complete a nonstop solo sail around the world.
© 2021 Jeanne Socrates
In 2010, Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail solo nonstop around the world. She was 16 years old.
© 2021 Kate Dyer
Tracy Edwards entered the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race with the first all-female crew aboard Maiden. Edwards and her crew made history and finished second in class overall. Today Tracy is known for her work with the Maiden Factor Foundation.
© 2021 Arthur Daniel / RORC
Kay Cottee was the first woman to successfully complete a solo, nonstop, unassisted circumnavigation of the globe. She completed her voyage in 1988, sailing aboard the 36-ft yacht Blackmores First Lady for 189 days.
© 2021 Pintrest

We know this is a very brief and absolutely incomplete list, but to include every inspiring sailor would take more time and internet space than we have available. Suffice it to say that we applaud and celebrate all women sailors who have publicly, or privately, cast off the dock lines and taken themselves beyond their comfort zones and faced the challenges of sailing.

Who are your favorite women sailors?

Missing Mexico in March: One Year On

A year ago we were sailing in Mexico aboard the 82′ schooner Seaward. The experience was at times fun, at other times challenging, and at all times 100 percent worth any discomforts that we experienced along the way. We were reminded of some of the beauty we’d experienced while sailing in Mexico when we saw Catalina Liana’s photos of Wednesday’s beer can racing on Banderas Bay, which is hosted by Mike Danielson of PV Sailing.

Sailing in Mexico
Do you remember these sunny skies?
© 2021 Catalina Liana
Pretty as a picture. Ah, the memories of a winter in Mexico.
© 2021 Catalina Liana
We can’t get over the color of the sky, and the water.
© 2021 Catalina Liana
While last year we were seeing lots of whales, this pretty spinnaker makes up a little for not seeing the majestic sea creatures right now.
© 2021 Catalina Liana
This view certainly has whetted our appetites for our own summer beer can races here on San Francisco Bay.
© 2021 Catalina Liana

Catalina Liana — most people know her as ‘Kat’ — is a powerhouse of energy. If you’ve met her, you’ll know what we mean. Kat is integral to the organization of numerous activities and gatherings that occur out of Marina Riviera Nayarit. And considering the amount of time she puts into her work with the local youth and with cruisers and their families, we think we were pretty lucky to have spent a little time with her.

This is one of the La Cruz Kids’ Club banners that the kids themselves created.
© 2021 Jay Grant
We got together just in the nick of time, as we were shipping out the next morning. Catalina (left) literally ran to see us in between her many engagements.
© 2021 Jay Grant

Next time you sail down south, be sure to look up Kat and give her a big hello from the Bay Area folks.

Dock Follies from a Stroll at the Marina

You can learn a lot just by walking the docks. There are clever ways to set up your dinghy davits, interesting snubbers and spring lines, and simply lots to observe and learn. Then there are a few things that are puzzling or possibly dangerous.

The boat below appears to have made the convenience of a bow roller very inconvenient. It’s not the right anchor/roller combo to actually work well, and it looks as if the struggle to get the anchor running smoothly out the roller and dropping to the bottom has been taken to the extreme.

Dock Follies
“Honey, would you run up to the bow and drop the anchor? First you lift it up, get it out under the pulpit, then pass it back out through the pulpit, then back out under the lower bar of the pulpit and get the chain into the roller and let it roll out. Make sure not to scratch the gelcoat. Thanks.”
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Other dock follies include the long, overhanging bowsprit. If you want to practice the limbo, it’s a huge opportunity. For those walking fast with their head down while talking on their cellphone, it’s a huge liability. The anchor and bow roller below look fine, as long as you notice them before you run into them.

Dock Follies
Sometimes you don’t see things even though they’re right in front of your nose. Don’t let it be a bowsprit!
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Some people have trouble parallel parking a car, and we understand boats are far more complicated. One of the attractions of sailing is lifelong learning, and we have numerous examples of our own regular sailing follies to prove that’s true. If you have dock curiosities to share, email them to [email protected].

Will Records Fall in the Newport Beach to Cabo Race?

With the 51st edition of the Transpac quickly approaching — and racing and training opportunities few and far between due to COVID — this year’s Cabo race takes on increased importance for the 18 teams that will make the trek to Mexico. A 790-mile dress rehearsal for this summer’s big dance, the race from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas presents an invaluable opportunity for teams preparing to race to Hawaii in July. While entries have steadily decreased from a high of more than 25 in January to just 18 as of yesterday — almost surely due to COVID — many of the West Coast’s premier sailing teams will still be in attendance.

screenshot of winds off Baja
This year’s race should be a quick one, with strong, steady northwesterly pressure pushing the fleet down the coast. By the time the bulk of the fleet has been on course for one day, they should be seeing sustained pressure of close to 30 knots, likely gusting much higher.
© 2021 PassageWeather

A race oftentimes defined by light and fluky breeze along the Baja coast, this year’s looks like a cracker. A solid 15-20 knots of northwest pressure could build in strength to 20-25 and possibly higher by the end of the weekend and into the beginning of next week. The race should prove to be a navigator’s duel. The typical fight between more pressure offshore and working the land breezes inshore looks to be reversed. The GRIBs currently show some interesting compression zones closer to land. The sailing should be fast and the competition intense in the fast, diverse fleet of boats that range in size from a 1D35 to a 100-ft super-maxi with a bit of anything and everything in between. Sadly, no multihulls entered this year.

Rio 100 smashing through a wave
Manouch Moshayedi’s Bakewell-White 100 Rio 100 is the fastest yacht entered in this year’s Cabo Race. She has a reasonable shot at establishing a new course record, given the windy forecast.
© 2021 Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

Six years ago, Manouch Moshayedi and his team on the Bakewell-White super-maxi Rio 100 missed out on establishing a new course record for this race by less than an hour. However, 2021 may give them another opportunity to leave their mark on the race. As the big 100-footer slides down the Baja coast at breakneck speed, navigator Justin Shaffer will surely be aware of Doug Baker and Magnitude 80’s long-standing record of 2 days, 13 hours, 25 minutes. The fastest-rated boat in the fleet, Rio 100 should be first into the barn. But they will have their work cut out for them against Roy P. Disney’s Volvo 70 Pyewacket 70, which should offer a formidable challenge in the fight for fastest elapsed time. After winning line honors in the recent Islands Race, the San Diego-based team looks to be on form, and with a weapon of a boat.

Pyewacket 70
Disney’s modified Volvo 70 Pyewacket, the second-fastest boat entered in the race, could play the role of spoiler. Volvo 70s are known to excel in heavier conditions. Following their recent line honors victory in the Islands Race, the team could give Rio a run for her money in the race to Cabo.
© 2021 2020 Puerto Vallarta Race

Though the fight for line honors and/or fastest elapsed time may steal the headlines, it likely won’t result in an overall win. Those honors are more likely to come from elsewhere in the fleet. Podium contenders include a J/125, a Rogers 46, a TP52 and a nice smattering of sleds. The first, and by far the smallest, contingent of yachts will get underway today at 1 p.m. The bulk of the fleet will start tomorrow at 1 p.m. With the breeze progressively filling in from behind, we expect the Saturday starters to have an advantage, as they’ll spend more time in better pressure. You can track the fleet here or on your Yellowbrick app. Look for a full recap, complete with competitor reactions, next week.

This just in…the crew of the Dehler 46 Favonious from San Francisco Yacht Club is fired up and ready to sail. Crewmember Matthew Sessions sent this in as they’re readying to head to the start line today. 

San Francisco Yacht Club Favonius
The Favonious crews: Matthew Sessions, Cam Tuttle, Nick Dorn, David Holscher, Ashley Perrin, owner/skipper Greg Dorn are heading South. 
© 2021 Matthew Sessions

You can find them on the race tracker now. 


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