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August 23, 2021

A Visit with the Great Vallejo Race

Wiver Wun start
With the Great Vallejo Race start visible on the Berkeley Circle in the background, four Wylie Wabbits started the Wiver Wun on Saturday morning off the Richmond Yacht Club race platform. The wacing Wabbits were (left to right) Bad Hare Day, Kwazy, Mr. McGregor and (not visible in this photo) Keala. The Wiver Wun takes Wabbits up the Sacramento Wiver to Wio Vista.
© 2021 Jerry Keefe

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.

four ladies on a boat
The crew of the Freedom 38 Kyntanna exits the Oakland Estuary on their way to the GVR startline. Left to right: Jackie Philpott, Tammy Mercado, Carliane Johnson and Mary Mathieson. This is Carliane’s crew for the 2022 Pacific Cup.
© 2021 Tammy Mercado

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.

As we were about to climb across his boat, we got a wave from Andy Newell, skipper of the Santana 35 Ahi.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Although fewer boats packed into the harbor, there was still plenty of fun to be had visiting friends boat to boat.

Boomer crew
They’re all wearing Kuai hats but they sailed the Melges 20 Boomer. Left to right: Dan Lee and David Lee (no relation), Daniel Thielman, and skipper Jennifer Canestra.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Hang 20 group
Hanging out on the Express 27 Hang 20, left to right: Jennifer McKenna, Ghaida Zahran (visiting from the Cal 40 Azure), Monique Selvester (visiting from the Olson 30 WYSIWYG), Robbie Murphree-Gabriel with Sparky, Thorne Butler (Robbie’s ‘racer-chaser’), and skipper Lori Tewksbury.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Heart of Gold
Joan Byrne’s Olson 911S Heart of Gold had a position of honor at the dock. (Early finishing boats get to tie up to the dock, not to boats that have arrived previously.)
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
The crew of Jarlen
The crew of the J/35 Jarlen also did well and got a slip. Left to right: Viktor German, Bob George, Jeff Dunnavent, Junette Kushner, Greg Winter, Eamonn Cribbens, Bob Bloom. Dr. Bob reports good wind the whole way — no wind holes.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Med-tie section
Only three boats med-tied in front of the club this year. These are Ed Hoff’s lovely Davidson 44 Pendragon, John Arens’ J/109 Reverie, and John Clauser’s 1D48 Bodacious+ (with all the flags).
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Stewball dancers
Some of the crew of the Express 37 Stewball did a little dance for our camera. Bob Walden (in the shirt with the sea stars on it), owner of the Cal 39 Sea Star, is chartering Stewball for September’s Rolex Big Boat Series. The GVR was a practice race for the crew, a blend of sailors from both boats. With plenty of breeze, Saturday’s race was a fast one, and Stewball finished at 1:30. The first finisher, Andrew Picel’s J/125 Arsenal, arrived at 1:05, taking only 2 hours, 5 minutes to complete the 22-mile course.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more in the October issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, check results on Jibeset.

East Coast Hurricane Season Appears to Be Ramping Up

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.”

Hurricane Grace
This photo showing some of the damage caused by Hurricane Grace was among many on a Facebook page, ‘Crisis Response.’
© 2021 Isaac Carballo

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.

Hopefully the sailboat visible in the background held fast.
© 2021 Univision Noticias

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.

Hurricane season
While two yellow X’s mark the last reported positions of new disturbances in the Atlantic, the remnants of Henri can be seen in red at the top of the map.
© 2021 National Hurricane Center

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.

Vicarious Transpac Thrills Aboard the Pac52 Callisto

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.

Nicole Breault Wins US Sailing Women’s Match Racing Championship

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.

Nicole Breult
The StFYC team of Nicole Breault, Molly Carapiet, Karen Loutzenheiser, and Julie Mitchell at 2021 US Women’s Match Racing Championship.
© 2021 Mark Albertazzi

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.”

Janel Zarkowsky
The Scuttlebutt Sailing Club team of Janel Zarkowsky, Annabelle Ayer, Madeline Gill and Rose Edwards.
© 2021 Mark Albertazzi

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.

Bridget Groble
The third-place team from the Chicago YC: Bridget Groble, Morgan Collins, Rachel Perry and Aisling Sullivan.
© 2021 Mark Albertazzi

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.

Keeping Sailors Safe
US Coast Guard has been kept busy this week as crews responded to three offshore emergencies, and a report of an overdue sailor.