We take a short break from preparing the September issue for press to post just a few quick favorite images from Vallejo Yacht Club and this weekend’s Great Vallejo Race.
The YRA canceled the GVR in 2020. This year they moved it from the initial, more traditional dates of May 1-2 to August 21-22. A fleet of 78 boats entered — about half the usual number. That’s fine, as social distancing is still necessary.
Although fewer boats packed into the harbor, there was still plenty of fun to be had visiting friends boat to boat.
The arrival of Hurricane Henri and Hurricane Grace over this past fortnight appears to have marked the escalation of this year’s East Coast hurricane season. Although both weather systems have now been degraded to a tropical storm or depression, they still managed to cause their fair share of destruction, and in Grace’s case, death.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Grace made landfall along the coast of Mexico, near Tecolutla, just prior to 1:00 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday, August 14 (11:00 p.m. Friday PDT). As a Category 3 hurricane, her maximum sustained winds were recorded close to 125 mph, with higher gusts. By late Saturday afternoon Grace’s force had dissipated significantly, but not before she’d cut a path of destruction and left eight people dead. According to coverage in the New York Times, Grace crossed the Yucatán Peninsula as a hurricane on Thursday, “bringing strong winds, heavy rain, power failures and hundreds of evacuations.” The same storm was reported to also have been responsible for the flooding in Haiti in the preceding days. In its last advisory regarding Grace, the NHC wrote that the remnant storm will “likely move into the eastern North Pacific by Sunday afternoon, where it is likely to develop into a new tropical cyclone next week.”
On Sunday, August 16, the NHC advised that a new tropical depression had formed northeast of Bermuda and that the region was now under a tropical storm watch. Throughout the week the system developed into Tropical Storm Henri, as it approached the US mainland’s Northeast. On Friday night a storm surge watch and hurricane watch were issued for much of Long Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts including Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island, and by Saturday afternoon Henri was officially upgraded to a hurricane, with the NHC issuing hurricane and storm surge warnings for the entire region.
Fortunately Henri weakened just hours before making landfall at Rhode Island on Sunday. Once again a tropical storm, Henri’s destructive winds and torrential rains brought down power lines and trees and caused extensive flooding. The New York Times reported that by Sunday afternoon more than 140,000 households from New Jersey to Maine had been left without power.
Henri is now expected to track northeast toward Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as it dwindles into a tropical depression.
Meanwhile, back in the Southern Atlantic, two new weather systems have been marked on the NHC’s maps. At this point in time, both are listed only as current disturbances, with a two-day cyclone formation forecast showing zero percent chance of developing into hurricanes.
But, as we know, weather is constantly changing, and what appears benign today could well become destructive within a short time. Always be prepared and keep a close eye on weather reports.
Division of Boating and Waterway’s “Pumpout Nav” is a free iOS and Android mobile app that shows you where the nearest sewage pumpout, dump station and floating restrooms are located.
Bill Colombo, sailmaker and crew for the Pac52 Callisto, sent us this link to aerial drone footage crewmember Jason Andrews shot of their mid-Pacific Transpac run. Bill and crew were aboard with owner James Murray, from the Great Lakes, who brought the boat west this year to do some Pacific racing. He has plans to do the Atlantic circuit next year. Given all the fun they had racing the Pacific this year they’re thinking of returning for the 2023 California Offshore Race Week, Transpac and other West Coast racing. Watching this video you can see why.
For people who’ve never done the Transpac (which includes ourselves), you can see the attraction. True, not all boats are like Callisto, but it looks as if the race would be pretty magical on any boat. Callisto took third in ORR Division 3 and fifth in fleet.
Look for our Transpac feature in the September issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Tuesday, August 31.
San Diego Yacht Club hosted the US Sailing Women’s Match Racing Championship this past weekend. Nicole Breault of San Francisco and her team representing the St. Francis YC, including Molly Carapiet (San Francisco), Karen Loutzenheiser (Santa Cruz) and Julie Mitchell (San Diego), won Sunday’s Finals match-up against Janel Zarkowsky of Annapolis and the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club team featuring Annabelle Ayer, Madeline Gill, and Rose Edwards. They won 3-0, capping an undefeated regatta. Zarkowsky had leads in Races 2 and 3 of the Finals, however, in both races they were carrying penalties that they could not overcome.
This marks Breault’s fourth career win at the US Women’s Match Racing Championship. She earned this title in 2018, 2016 and 2015. Carapiet and Loutzenheiser sailed with Breault in all four championship runs.
Breault and her team were perfect in the Round Robin stage that took place on Friday and wrapped up on Saturday. They won all nine matches and entered the Knock-out stage as the #1 seed. The team went on to defeat Marilyn Cassedy (California YC) 2-0 in the Quarterfinals. They followed that winning performance with another 2-0 win in the Semifinals over Bridget Groble of Chicago to advance to Sunday’s Finals.
“Our teamwork sailing the J/22s has been refined over the years,” said Breault. “We were solid and could get our heads out of the boat to account for a lot of the fleet racing factors that happen in match racing. Transitioning from light to windier conditions and reacting to pressure was the key to speed.
“I love match racing because it’s all or nothing,” she added. “You feel the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. It’s so intense, and being able to pull together as a team is a great experience.”
Zarkowsky entered the Knock-out stage as the #2 seed after going 8-1 in the Round Robin stage. Their only defeat was to Breault. They defeated Marbella Marlow (Newport Harbor YC) 2-0 in the Quarterfinals. They went on to edge 2019 Champion Allie Blecher (California YC) 2-1 in the Semifinals to advance to the Finals for a rematch with Breault.
By winning this event, Breault receives an automatic invitation to compete at the 2021 US Match Racing Championship, which Long Beach YC will host on October 1-3.
Groble defeated Blecher in a closely contested Petit Finals on Sunday afternoon, 2-1, to take third-place honors. Groble won the last two races of the series after Blecher won the first race. Blecher had defeated Groble in their Round Robin match.
The event was sailed in J/22s right off the San Diego city front in San Diego Bay near the Grape Street pier.
Saturday’s racing conditions included shifty winds that led to 11 course resets by the race committee, both before the start and during the races. Teams completed seven Round Robin races on Friday, and the final two races of that round on Saturday. The breeze was steady on Friday, with a low of 6 knots and a high of 11.