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May 21, 2021

How Will You Celebrate Sailing on Summer Sailstice?

Summer is on the way, and that means the annual Summer Sailstice celebration of sailing is just one month away. Racers, cruisers and daysailors are signing up across the country and around the world. Have you made sailing plans yet for the weekend of June 19?

2021 Summer Sailstice Event Map
The 2021 Summer Sailstice Event Map is filling up – you can add your pin now.
© 2021 Summer Sailstice

How might you participate? The only real requirement is to #raiseyoursails and go sailing. On San Francisco Bay folks can participate as they race in the YRA Summer Series Regatta #3, starting at Southampton Shoal. Non-racers can join the San Francisco Bay Photo Treasure Hunt, with prizes for winners including a free 2022 PHRF rating certificate. If you’re a non-racer this year, you can be a racer next year. The PICYA is encouraging members of its 100+ Bay Area yacht clubs to sign up and sail. You could participate by posting your June 18 Friday night beer-can racing plans, or begin your Delta Doo Dah cruise.

Captain Duane Brumm Sail La Vie
RYC member Captain Duane Brumm of Sail La Vie, a Beneteau 411 from Marina Bay in Richmond, submitted the photo of a boat with fenders out for the 2020 Photo Treasure Hunt.
© 2021 Rose Vera Cano

If you explore the Summer Sailstice event map you’ll find sailors from Maine to Tahiti who have signed up to join the celebration. There are a couple dozen Summer Sailstice ambassadors rallying their club, fleet and friends to join them on the water, no matter what they sail or where they are in the world. There’s still time for you to become a sailing ambassador too.

Owners of Sabre sailboats can sign up and RSVP to the virtual Sabre Rendezvous, and anyone can create an event or sail solo. It’s the 21st anniversary of Summer Sailstice, which started right here on San Francisco Bay with a few boats sailing out to Angel Island for a raft-up.

Catalina 27 Nothing Fancy
Christy, Erica and Lisa leaving the Angel Island dock on Stacey Sullivan’s Catalina 27 Nothing Fancy with a crowd of seals to send them off for the 2020 Treasure Hunt.
© 2021 Tricia Cronin

Owning a sailboat is cool. Sailing it with friends is even cooler. Mark the date on your calendar and post your intentions now (you can refine your plans later) and we’ll see you on the Bay on the weekend of June 19.

RBOC, BoatUS Successfully Lobby State for Smaller Increase in Registration Fees

After proposing a 250% boat-registration-fee increase in March, the State of California has reduced its proposed hike to 100%, which would bring the cost of a two-year registration from $20 to $40, or $20 per year.

More than 4,000 people contacted California lawmakers asking for a more moderate increase in fees, according to the Recreational Boaters of California, or RBOC, who — along with BoatUS and a coalition of stakeholders — successfully lobbied the state government during recent budget negotiations for what the group called “a more responsible and fair boat registration fee increase.”

smaller increase in registration fees
Thanks to a chorus of voices from boaters, registration fees will see a  moderate increase in the near future.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

“We appreciate the support from our partner BoatUS and our coalition partners to make the boaters’ voices heard in Sacramento,” said Winston Bumpus, RBOC’s president.

Boater-registration fees finance the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, or HWRF, which supports boating infrastructure, boater education and local boating law enforcement, as well as invasive species prevention programs. RBOC said that the 100%, $20 two-year increase “leads to a path that more equitably funds these programs.” The HWRF had been teetering on insolvency, and also was vulnerable to state “raiding” for beach restoration projects, according to RBOC. Through lobbying, the HWRF has been buoyed with more than $60 million in funding, and legislators included a provision “that would suspend transfers of HWRF funds to the public beach restoration fund,” the RBOC said in a press release.

“Advocacy works,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “Legislators clearly listened, and we thank them for understanding our needs.”

A final vote on the fee increase is expected in June; the new fees could go into effect before the end of the year.

Wild Wet Wednesday in Santa Cruz

Niels and Jack
Niels trims the (reefed) main and his son Jack, 17, drives the Wilderness 40 Geronimo, with the rabbit start of the Santa Cruz Wednesday night race happening in the background. Many thanks to the Kislings: Geronimo served as photoboat for the evening, so didn’t participate in the start.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The Wednesday night beer can race in Santa Cruz this week coincided with a windy-gusty-puffy weather pattern and wild conditions on the ocean. From a vantage point high above the water, the whitecaps looked gnarly out on Monterey Bay. Close to shore on the actual racecourse, the water was a little tamer. But conditions prompted some crews to reef; others stuck with white sails, and one even had to retrieve a person overboard. The MOB hung onto a sheet and quickly climbed back aboard; we’ve been sworn to secrecy as to the identity of the boat.

Not coincidentally — conditions were rough on San Francisco Bay too — in Richmond Yacht Club’s Wednesday Night Beer Can someone fell off a Moore 24 and was picked up by a bigger boat. The forecast for the South Bay troubled Sequoia YC so much that they moved their Sunset Race indoors. “With winds predicted gusting over 35 knots, the decision has been taken to cancel today’s beer can,” wrote Hans Spanjaart. Hans suggested the clubhouse’s fireplace as a rounding mark — to be taken in either direction!

Elyxir with colorful spinnaker
The crew aboard the Ely family’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir pulls down the jib after rounding the weather mark. The SC27 Rio takes her transom.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The Santa Cruz race is super-casual. The Sydney 38 Animal serves as the rabbit boat for a DIY start. There’s no scoreboard, no entry form, no sailing instructions, and no organizing authority.

Christian grinds the jib
Christian Kisling, age 20, grinds in the jib on Geronimo.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Kasatka skies pole
In the gusty, lusty breeze, the SC27 Kasatka skies the pole, but the crew got the kite back under control quickly.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Buona Sera
Buona Sera, the biggest and fastest boat on the course, skirts the kelp line on the way back from the leeward mark.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Although they don’t run the race, Santa Cruz YC does host a post-race BBQ. (Santa Cruz County is in the orange tier for COVID rules.)

Jaimie, Chris, Nathan and Ros
Jaimie, Chris, Nathan and Ros were among Buona Sera’s large crew. Nathan and Ros de Vries were visiting from Alameda. Nathan is the rear commodore at Island YC, and Ros is a contributor to Latitude 38.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Grace and Monique
A former Latitude staffer, Monique Selvester (right), also from Alameda, was visiting her Santa Cruz friend Grace, who’d never been sailing before. They crewed on Kasatka. We introduced Ros and Monique — and they’re already planning to race together next Wednesday on the Estuary in Oakland YC’s Sweet 16 aboard the SC27 Medusa!
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Santa Cruz also has a newer Tuesday night race for cruisier boats, sailing with main and jib only. Both run weekly through Daylight Saving Time. For more about Tuesday night races, you can read Barry Keeler’s blog, Sailing Pair-a-Dice. Geronimo, sporting their #1, won this week’s race.

Potter Yachters Sail to the Rescue

West Wight Potter sailors are usually out just having fun, but recently a couple of Potter Yachters became rescuers when they responded to a call for help. Eric Zilbert tells the story.

Last Sunday, most of the Potter Pod left Moss landing for their respective home ports. However, Ed Hultgren and I were good for one more sail. We headed out, motoring to the bell buoy (Mile Buoy) to avoid the chop and light wind in toward shore. We were able to sail through a moderately large and confused sea, planning to do two long tacks and then surf our way back into the harbor.

Just before we were about to reverse tacks, I heard someone calling the Moss Landing harbormaster looking for a tow. Shortly thereafter the Coast Guard was on the radio with the Naiomi, a small (23-ft) fishing boat. The skipper was very concerned he would be on the beach soon. The wind on Sunday was expected to be over 20 knots with gusts to 40.

I located what I thought was the boat, and told the Coast Guard I would be on the scene in about four minutes. I motorsailed to where the boat was (very close to the Mile Buoy) and determined that they were not in immediate danger. I determined that it would be very hazardous to attempt to tow them in, mostly due to the rough seas at the harbor entrance; more horsepower and a bigger engine were needed. However, the skipper wanted to put ashore one crewmember who could not swim. I took the man onto my boat and took him to the harbor.

Meanwhile, Ed arrived on the scene and proceeded to take a line from the Naiomi and conducted a tow to keep them from drifting closer to the beach. Eventually a larger fishing boat came to assist the Naiomi and towed her in.

Ed Hultgren & Naomi Skipper
Ed Hultgren (left) and the skipper of Naiomi both arrived safely at the docks.
© 2021 Eric Zilbert

I was very surprised that for a long period of time, no one responded to the cry for assistance. Just our responding put the skipper and crew at greater ease. It was an exciting end to our day on the water.

A fleet of Potter 19s rest on the beach at Tomales Bay. Eric’s boat Riptide is in the foreground.
© 2021 Eric Zilbert

Goose Gossman added to Eric’s story, which is also on the Potter Yachters’ website

The forecast was 25-30 knots, so we left the dock early, keeping a sharp eye on the leading edge of the fog bank moving toward us with its strong winds. We stayed close to the harbor entrance so we could head in as conditions changed. We had six boats launch — [we were] staying at Elkhorn Yacht Club, which kindly let us squeeze into their guest dock.

The Potters usually monitor channel 69, so I missed the distress call. I had my wife and dog aboard, and had dropped my mast so we could enter Elkhorn Slough after motoring out to look for whales. My boat has a big motor, but towing a larger boat through the harbor entrance would not have been prudent given the two- to three-foot waves breaking across the harbor entrance at low tide.

Thankfully, everyone was safe. As the Potter mantra goes, “We cheated death again!”.

Diverse Fleet Converges in the Society Islands
At the annual Tahiti Pearl Regatta, a disparate fleet of monohulls, multihulls and traditionally inspired double-outrigger canoes raced between Taha'a and Raiatea.