For East Brother Light Station, April 1, 2021, was no joke. That was the day when the island’s decades-old power cable broke, casting the island and its lighthouse into darkness. This week we spoke with Light Station Keeper Desiree Heveroh, who has been tending the light for 13 months and is also a long-term board member of the nonprofit East Brother Light Station, Inc. that manages the island.
“It was hard!” Desiree said of the two months the island was without power.
The submarine cable that connects the island to the mainland has since been repaired, albeit temporarily. The existing cable was pulled up from the Bay enough to locate and cut out the damaged portion and splice the undamaged portions together. Long-term, it needs to be completely replaced.
“It’s not a decades-long repair,” Desiree said, “but we hope it will give us time to continue to fundraise.”
“We need $150,000 just for the cable, and $800,000 or more for laying.”
Apart from the power issue, East Brother Light Station faced the closure of its accommodations early last year due to COVID, and consequently has not had innkeepers and guests for almost a year and a half. Now the island is being prepared for the return of visitors. “We’ve been getting the island in great shape,” Desiree said. “Our first night is September 2nd,”
You may have seen an ad recently, calling for an innkeeper couple to manage the island’s Victorian Lighthouse Dinner B&B. Applications for the position are now closed, and we asked Desiree if she was willing to disclose who the successful applicants are.
“We’re bringing back former innkeepers Bryan and Stephanie Wesolek to get the station back up and running,” she replied. “If we can open up again and see guests, we can use some of the funds we raise [for repairs].”
Eight days after the power cable broke, Desiree created a GoFundMe page to help the nonprofit raise money for long-term repairs. To date, the appeal has raised $84,560 of its goal of $150,000 — just over half the cost of the new cable. The island also needs repairs to its pier and gangway, which were built in 1962 and are suffering the ravages of some 60 years of saltwater exposure.
If you would like to support this historic and unique Bay Area icon, consider donating to the “Help Save East Brother Light Station” fundraiser, and consider booking a stay on the island. We hear it’s a great place to unwind and enjoy exclusive Bay views.
12 noon to 3 p.m.: Lunch sponsored by Ishkeesh Marine Service and prepared by volunteers from Peninsula Yacht Club.
1-2 p.m.: Delta Lore with Bill Wells
Bill Wells from the California Delta Chambers will give his famous narrative on the Delta’s nautical history.
1-4 p.m.: Demi Stewart’s Solo Sightings
Demi Stewart is a lifelong Delta resident and local bridgetender. She brings her keen eye to the Delta Bay Marina for a solo show. Her photographs of sightings in and around the rivers of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta show the beauty of our world.
Complimentary Guest Berthing
To help welcome our cruisers, Delta Bay Marina is offering complimentary dockage during the week of August 9-16 for official Delta Doo Dah 13 entries. This is a first come, first served offer to the first 20 people who make a reservation. (There’s still space available.) If you’re already registered for this year’s Delta Doo Dah, you should have received the link and coupon code to make your reservation. If you haven’t already signed up for the Doo Dah, what are you waiting for? It’s free, fast and easy. Go to www.deltadoodah.com to get started.
Loch Lomond Yacht Club (LLYC) in San Rafael is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a weekend of fun, culminating in the “The Swinging 60s Anniversary Bash” on Saturday, August 14, three days after its official birthday. Founded in 1961 by a handful of boat owners, the club held their very first meeting on August 11 in Fred Manley’s Boat Shop at the Loch Lomond Marina. By the end of its first year it had grown to 50 members, and by 1964 had almost 200 members and a newly built clubhouse. Now, 60 years later, the LLYC, which was once described as “Cheers with boats”, has a membership of approximately 120 and a fleet of about 50 yachts, both sail and power.
A ‘Cruise-in Happy Hour and Dinner’ will kick off the weekend-long birthday festivities ahead of Saturday’s dockside games and “maybe a dinghy race around the harbor during the afternoon.” Then at 5 p.m. the “big birthday blowout” gets into full swing with guests encouraged to dress in ’60s-themed attire (a good opportunity to dig out all those cool outfits stashed in the back of the closet). There will be a live band, and a “Retro ’60s” small-plate food buffet, and to quote Fleet Captain Matthew Byers, “I guarantee, this will be a party you do not want to miss!” Unfortunately due to the lingering pandemic issues the party is not open to the public. However club members and their guests and reciprocal yacht clubs will be out in full force!
As for racing? Byers said LLYC hasn’t held races in about 25 years.
“This is a very new program for us. We have a small but growing fleet of local sailors from not only Loch Lomond YC, but from San Rafael and Marin YC as well.” It’s no wonder the members are celebrating!
This year’s racing consists of a beer can series on Thursday evenings starting at 6:30 p.m. And while they use various courses throughout the season, a typical course is “from the start at 17, south to G15 just north of the west tower of the west channel of the Richmond Bridge, then north to a port round of East Brother Island, then back to the finish at G17.”
“Members of any yacht club on the planet can race with us!” Byers added. “If a skipper does not belong to a yacht club, but berths their boat at Loch Lomond Marina, they are welcome to race with us as well. Yacht club members who cannot make it out for the race itself are more than welcome to join us at the club after for drinks and the bbq.”
Thursday night beer can races will continue through to September 30, and conclude with “The Oily Chicken Regatta” — the two top-scoring boats battling it out over a “long distance” race from G17, south to R2 just west of the Richmond Long Wharf, then north to The Pumphouse at the entrance to the Petaluma River Channel, passing in between Point San Pablo and The Brothers. The race will then continue south to the finish at G17, passing between The Sisters, and Point San Pedro. “A pretty creative race course if you ask me!” Byers said.
But the fun on the water won’t end there. Racing will resume in November with a midwinter series on Saturday afternoons. The all-volunteer club also hosts weekly Friday night dinners, and (pre-COVID) an event at least once every Saturday. “We also have several weekend cruise outs to spots around the Bay and Delta,” Byers told us.
Olympic sailing wrapped up on Wednesday, and the US team will return home empty-handed.
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7 (Laser)
Gold: Matt Wearn, AUS
Silver: Tonci Stipanovic, CRO
Bronze: Hermann Tomasgaard, NOR
13th: Charlie Buckingham, USA
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6 (Radial)
Gold: Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN
Silver: Josefin Olsson, SWE
Bronze: Marit Bouwmeester, NED
37th: Paige Railey, USA
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Gold: Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan, AUS
Silver: Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom, SWE
Bronze: Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodriguez Garcia-Paz, ESP
9th: Stu McNay/Dave Hughes, USA
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Gold: Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre, GBR
Silver: Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Jolanta Ogar, POL
Bronze: Camille Lecointre/Aloise Retornaz, FRA
12th: Nikole Barnes/Lara Dallman-Weis, USA
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Gold: Dylan Fletcher/Stuart Bithell, GBR
Silver: Peter Burling/Blair Tuke, NZL
Bronze: Erik Heil/Thomas Ploessel, GER
(No USA sailors)
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Gold: Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze, BRA
Silver: Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke, GER
Bronze: Annemiek Bekkering/Annette Duetz, NED
11th: Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea, USA
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Gold: Giles Scott, GBR
Silver: Zsombor Berecz, HUN
Bronze: Joan Cardona Mendez, ESP
13th: Luke Muller, USA
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Gold: Kiran Badloe, NED
Silver: Thomas Goyard, FRA
Bronze: Kun Bi, CHN
9th: Pedro Pascual, USA
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Gold: Yunxiu Lu, CHN
Silver: Charline Picon, FRA
Bronze: Emma Wilson, GBR
15th: Farrah Hall, USA
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Gold: Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti, ITA
Silver: John Gimson/Anna Burnet, GBR
Bronze: Paul Kohlhoff/Alica Stuhlemmer, GER
9th: Riley Gibbs/Anna Weis, USA
For complete results in sailing, see https://tokyo2020.sailing.org/results-centre.
Team USA has been winning medals in many other sports. Why not sailing?
From Paul Cayard
Paul Cayard has been the executive director of US Olympic Sailing since March 2021. In an open letter, the two-time Olympian wrote, “Our team prepared hard for the last five years, and raced with intensity and professionalism here on the big stage. While we were not medal favorites in any event, each of our 13 Olympians were competitive in the most elite field of play in the sport. They represented their country extremely well, both on and off the water. They also worked through unprecedented pandemic-related challenges that impacted both their performance development and their lives in general.
“Team USA has a long history of dominance in Olympic Sailing. At Los Angeles 1984, our team won nothing but Gold and Silver in all seven events. In the eight years from ’84-‘92, we were the dominant sailing team in the world, winning 21 medals. In the last three Olympiads, 2012-2020, Team USA has come away with a total of one bronze. We are no longer the winningest nation in Olympic history. That honor has now gone to Great Britain, who have been the dominant team after a complete makeover of their strategy following Atlanta 1996.
“Moving up the Olympic pecking order is not going to be easy. No one is going to get out of our way. We need to build a machine that puts teams and athletes in a position where their usual routine will produce a podium result on a regular basis. This is about cultivation, education, preparation and execution on game day. This is about proper process and procedure.
“Seven of our Tokyo 2020 athletes, along with other standout Americans who did not win their Olympic trials, have already committed to continuing towards Paris 2024. Continuity is critical.”
Read Cayard’s entire letter here.
Fastnet Starts Sunday
Over the weekend, the attention of the armchair sailor can shift from the Olympics to the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race. We’re particularly interested because San Franciscan Harmon Shragge will be crewing. Regular readers may recall that we covered Harmon’s experiences in the Clipper Race in past years. Harmon will sail aboard the old Vestas Volvo 65, now called Sisi. “There are a bunch of ex-Clipper people on it, as well as at least one other Bay Area person,” he said. “Should be crazy — we cannot set foot in England.” COVID restrictions are shifting this week in the UK, perhaps allowing for fully vaccinated foreigners to set foot on British soil, but the situation remains confusing.
The Fastnet will start on Sunday, August 8, from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK. The first warning signal is at 11 a.m. British Summer Time (1000 UTC; that works out to — gulp — 3 a.m. PDT). Seven divisions will head west down the Solent toward the Needles. The live stream will run 10:30-1 p.m. BST. Commentators will include Pip Hare, Abby Ehler, Matt Sheahan, Louay Habib and Simon Vigar.
Watch on the race website at www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en, on RORC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/rorcracing, or on RORC’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub. Here’s the entry list: www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/follow/follow-the-race/entrylists.
Are any other West Coast sailors participating? Feel free to comment in the section below.