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September 22, 2021

And the 2021 Congressional Cup Win Goes to…

Taylor Canfield’s American Stars+Stripes team triumphed in the 56th Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club on Sunday, capping five days of high-test competition in the World Match Racing Tour championship event — and making Canfield the winningest skipper in the history of the Cup.

Congressional Cup podium celebration
Taylor Canfield (that’s him in the red jacket and sporting shades as always) comes from the US Virgin Islands.
© 2021 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

Said Canfield of his fifth Congressional Cup victory, “It’s incredible, but it feels just like every other win. Fantastic! And to win with the Stars+Stripes Team again — I’m on top of the world.” Racing with Canfield were Mike Buckley, the CEO of Stars+Stripes, Mac Agnese, Leo Boucher, Victor Diaz De Leon, George Peet and Erik Shampain.

Canfield attributed the victory to sticking to their plan. “Our goal is to always get better throughout the week. We had some difficult moments and some tough debriefs about how we could continue to get better, and that makes us stronger in the end. And we like to keep the umpires out of the game,” Canfield added. “I think we had only one penalty over the week.”

Aggressive maneuvers and resultant penalties oft proved to be the demise of Canfield’s rivals. Advancing to the semi-final round for the first time in his eight Congressional Cup history, Eric Monnin (SUI) won his initial match against Canfield. But the Swiss bowed to Canfield in the next three bouts, including one black-flagged match. In the petite finals, Monnin beat Chris Poole (USA) in the best-of-three series to capture his first podium finish in his Congressional Cup career. Monnin and his bride Ute Wagner are probably the first husband-wife team to podium in the Cup.

Poole and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) entered the day 2-2 with one match left in the semi-finals, a winner-take-all to advance. In the vigorous pre-start, Poole failed to keep clear and received a penalty he couldn’t exonerate before the finish, bowing to Berntsson.

Then it was Canfield versus Berntsson in the finals. It was the lightest day of the series, with patchy, more southerly breezes of 7 knots, adding to the complexity and challenge of match racing. Stars+Stripes swept the series with three wins in a row. Berntsson captured his fourth second place in 15 years of Congressional Cup racing. The 2009 winner of the Crimson Blazer, Berntsson remains a crowd favorite at LBYC.

Catalina 37s off Belmont Pier
The Swedes and Stars+Stripes battle excitingly close to the spectators lining the pier. The Congressional Cup is sailed in purpose-built Catalina 37 keelboats.
© 2021 Ian Roman

Canfield commended the level of competition at the event. “It was great to come and beat an incredible field of sailors, including some up-and-coming young guys. But at 32, I think I’ve got a few more years left in me,” he added with a laugh.

Scores of spectators had gathered on Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to watch the spectacle, which included a fleet race for those teams not making the semis. Jeffrey Petersen (USA) won that race. Peterson is the current United States Youth Match Racing champion and Governors Cup champion. At age 19, he was also the youngest skipper. An LBYC Junior, 13-year-old Madison Mansour, did main and tactics for Petersen.

Good Jibes Episode #7 Is Online Now

Welcome back to Latitude 38’s new podcast, Good Jibes! This week’s host, Ryan Foland, is joined by Brendan Huffman to chat about how he prepared for the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Brendan is a US Sailing Certified Instructor at UCLA’s Marina Aquatic Center and has raced to Hawaii seven times.

Brenden SHTP
Brendan catches a selfie while crossing the Pacific in the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race.
© 2021 Brendan Huffman

Hear how to prepare and take safety precautions for a giant race, what to do if you wipe out or get thrown overboard, how to eat and sleep during the race, debunking sailing superstitions, and the emotions that come with casting off for a long journey and then finishing to friends and family in beautiful Hawaii. This episode covers everything from safety precautions to good meals.

Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Is there something special about sailing by yourself?
  • How do you prepare for the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race?
  • What safety requirements are there for the race?
  • How do you eat and sleep on a major race?
  • Why are bananas supposedly bad luck on sailboats?
  • What is the story behind the belt buckle?
  • Will Brendan do the race again?
  • Tack or Jibe: What is oil canning?

Good Jibes is brought to you by the Safe Boating Campaign, in partnership with the National Safe Boating Council and US Coast Guard. Learn more at

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

You can also check out the show notes here:

South Bay Yacht Club Clears Away Old Docks

The South Bay Yacht Club had told us of their plans to participate in California Coastal Cleanup Day by clearing away the last of the old rotting docks that had been in place since the late 1960s.

Original docks
The South Bay YC’s History page tells us, “In 1969, in cooperation with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, SBYC abandoned the mooring basin which it had used for many, many years across the slough, in favor of docks and slips next to the clubhouse. The members worked with the District, negotiated a lease with the State of California, State Lands Commission, built new docks and moved to the new location. This was a massive undertaking and as was the case with the clubhouse, done entirely by the labors of the members.”
© 2021 South Bay Yacht Club

On Monday, the club sent us photos of their successful cleanup event.

South Bay YC old docks
The semi-abandoned docks were mostly rotten, and most sections were “floating on slowly disintegrating Styrofoam.”
© 2021 South Bay Yacht Club

The removal of the old docks was imperative in enabling the Alviso marshlands to be restored to their natural condition.

The event was well attended, with 61 volunteers turning up to help complete the day’s task.
© 2021 South Bay Yacht Club
Last weekend may have been hard work, but this coming weekend the club is ready to party and ‘Talk Like a Pirate.’
© 2021 South Bay Yacht Club

This coming Saturday, The South Bay Yacht Club is holding its fourth annual Oyster Pirate Party at its clubhouse in Alviso. Everyone is welcome to join the fun. And there’s no need to worry about starving because you don’t like oysters; there will also be hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken ‘peg-leg’ drumsticks.

There’ll even be entertainment — Mordecai and Suska will be playing nautical music, singing sea chanteys, and generally clowning around.

Admission is free!
© 2021 South Bay Yacht Club

If this sounds like your kind of party, RSVP at

Do you remember visiting the old docks at The South Bay Yacht Club? Send us your historical memories at [email protected].

Video of US Open Olympic iQFoil Sailing on San Francisco Bay

Local Snipe sailor and videographer Vince Casalaina created this video of the West Marine US Open Sailing Series San Francisco iQFoil event on August 13-15. As Vince says, “I believe the segment tells a compelling story of how this six-part regatta and the ODP (Olympic Development Program) work together to develop young sailors into champions.” With iQFoils joining the 2024 Olympics in France, the weekend’s competitors worked hard to sharpen their skills in pursuit of an Olympic medal.

The video primarily looks at Alexander Temko and Brynn Muller in their quest to be named to the Junior Pan Am Games. As Alexander said, “It’s a blast sailing the iQFoil.” In this video, you can see why. We get interviews with several young competitors and cameos from older competitors who lined up to challenge the younger foilers. It includes the late-breaking news about JP Lattanzi of the Hawaii Kai Boat Club being selected to the Youth Worlds US sailing team.

Vince put this video together with a guest appearance from US Sailing executive director of Olympic Sailing Paul Cayard, and video footage from US Sailing and Xports Media.

It’s hard to believe that the current foiling craze began just eight years ago from a few hidden corners of the sailing world and rose to global prominence with the 2013 America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.

Baja Ha-Ha’s COVID Policy: Seeking the Middle Ground

Last week we published a story about the Baja Ha-Ha and the COVID vaccination status of the hosts for the Ha-Ha party on Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico. This story prompted a reader to ask what, if any, the Baja Ha-Ha‘s COVID policy is for this year’s rally. We replied with a statement from the Ha-Ha organizers, which we now share with all our readers.

The official Ha-Ha policy, as of 09/16/2021, is that participants will not be required to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test. However, the Poobah urges everyone, in the strongest possible terms, to be fully vaccinated before the November 1 start. Reason one is that the vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. Reason two is that there is no meaningful health care in the 700 miles between Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. Besides, who wants to be that irresponsible gringo who could have easily gotten vaccinated, but who ends up taking an ICU bed in a country where vaccines are difficult to come by and where there is a shortage of treatment facilities?

There is still time to get fully vaccinated, no matter if you want to use Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. The Poobah and Doña de Mallorca are both fully vaccinated, as are the 10 crew who will be aboard the mothership Profligate. The skipper and crew of Assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven’s Talion are all fully vaccinated. In both cases, being vaccinated was a non-negotiable condition of coming onto those boats. The Poobah is aware there have been cases where fully vaccinated people have gotten COVID. However, the number of cases is small, the effects are usually less severe, and mortality is primarily limited to people over 80 with some other medical condition. If you are over 80 and have a serious medical condition, the Poobah urges you not to do the Ha-Ha this year — and probably not any year.

If you are vaccinated, the Poobah believes there are several additional reasons that the Ha-Ha will be a low-risk event. This biggest reason is that experts believe that being outdoors is something like 20 times less risky than being indoors, and the Ha-Ha is an all-outdoor event — except for the unofficial ‘Cheated Death’ dance party and popcorn throw at Squid Roe in Cabo San Lucas. At this time the Poobah is unsure about continuing that admittedly very popular tradition.

There is, of course, a slightly elevated risk outdoors if you are in crowded conditions — such as at a football game with 100,000 other fans, a rock concert with 10,000 people yelling and shouting in each other’s faces, and to a lesser extent, with hundreds of people at the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Costume Party in the West Marine Superstore parking lot. In view of this, mirroring the current COVID protocol in Mexico, nobody will be allowed into the Kick-Off Party without having their temperature taken and getting a squirt of gel on their hands. Nurse Goodbody will be in charge and will offer to take entrants’ temperatures via an infrared, oral, or rectal thermometer. The Poobah recommends the infrared, as sometimes nurse Goodbody gets the other two devices mixed up. Sultry Nurse Goodbody will give males with elevated temperatures an opportunity to cool down before being retested. A fever doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID, of course; maybe it’s just indicative of a cold or the flu. No matter, it still might not be the best idea to do the Ha-Ha. Participants can additionally lower the risk to themselves by 1) Wearing a mask. 2) Maintaining a six-foot separation from others, and 3) Not standing next to the same person for more than 15 minutes. While none of the above are mandatory, the Poobah and Doña de Mallorca intend to adhere to these policies as much as possible.

By the way, for purposes of the entire Ha-Ha, the wearing of a mask is to be taken as a request by the wearer for others to keep the Mexican standard of six feet away. Please respect that.

For those who might still not feel safe, attendance at the Skippers’ Meeting and Kick-Off Party will be optional this year. If you are not in attendance, and you have completed all of your online waivers and offshore communication setup, you will be emailed the Rally Instructions and Fleet Breakdowns just after the Skippers’ Meeting. The R&R stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria allow for much greater social distancing than the Kick-Off Party in San Diego, and thus the risk should be even lower.

Doña just got off the phone with Victor, who hosts the famous rock ‘n’ roll party in Bahia Santa Maria each year. He reports that he and every single person in Lopez Mateo, where they all come from, has been vaccinated, that there are zero COVID cases in Lopez Mateo, and that Penguin, Benny, and all the other members of the rock ‘n’ roll band from La Paz have been vaccinated, too. Victor will be offering hand sanitizer along with ice-cold beer and lunch.

There are no guarantees, but the Poobah believes that these multiple layers of protection available can make the Ha-Ha no more dangerous to individuals than ‘normal’ life in the States. Possibly even less so. If you disagree or are even unsure, the Poobah encourages you not to do the Ha-Ha. No matter if you are a skipper or crew, the decision and responsibility are entirely up to you.

As the Poobah writes this, he is in both Jalisco, meaning Puerto Vallarta, and Nayarit, meaning La Cruz. Life continues very much as normal here, except that everyone is required to wear a mask upon entering any kind of business or professional establishment. Many stores, such as Mega, Soriano, and Costco, also take your temperature and make you use gel and wipe your feet on some kind of antiseptic mat before entering. They are taking this seriously, so there are no exceptions.

For those who will be continuing on their boats in Mexico, it’s our understanding that the impact of COVID on cruisers in Mexico has been almost nil in terms of cruisers getting very sick or dying.

À santé, and thank you for understanding. – The Grand Poobah.

Readers — This story originally had a long thread, the kind seen all too often on social media and other outlets. We have since removed the comments for any number of reasons. While we don’t have many formal “rules” about commenting on our website, we try to stay on topic as best we can, and try to avoid trolling as best we can. It’s an art, not a science. 

Skippers Wanted: US Coast Guard-Licensed Captains for Charters and Private Lessons

Wanted: US Coast Guard-licensed captains for charters and private lessons. For power & sail. Hourly rate from $50 up. Weekend and weekday work available.

1160 Brickyard Cove Road, Suite 21, Richmond, California 94801 • (510) 236-2633 • [email protected]

Volcano Rattles Starting Line
Despite many events being rattled by headline news, the ARC Rally is persevering for its November start.
Singing Like an Eagle
After dropping anchor in the tranquil bay, our amazing crew celebrated with customary tequila shots and beer before falling like flies into our bunks.