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September 29, 2021

Where Did All These Sailors Come From?

The recent Rolex Big Boat Series was another smashing, returning-to-normal success. Great racing, great boats, great weather and a great time reconnecting with sailing friends. So where do all these sailors come from? We often hear that racing is struggling because nobody can find crew, but the RBBS is a testament to the fact that if you look, you can find them. Check out the photos below.

Friends on the rail
The Bay is breezy, so Greg Dorn’s Dehler 46, Favonius, had a great lineup of friends on the rail.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Sharon Green / Rolex
Rolex Big Boat Series Crew
If you’re not calling puffs, this is a great place to tell your favorite joke. Other questions for the rail — boots or sneakers? Left foot over right or right foot over left?
© 2021 Sharon Green / Rolex

Besides no crew, another myth about sailing is that it’s expensive. It can be for big-boat owners, but it’s likely that most of the people in these photos are sailing for free and some are even getting paid to sail. You do have to earn your spot with skills and dedication, especially for an event like RBBS, but once aboard the actual cost, beyond appropriate apparel and a PFD, is negligible.

Santa Cruz 37 Wild Card
Nicholas Grebe brought all his pals on the Santa Cruz 37 Wild Card.
© 2021 Sharon Green / Wild Card
J/88 Ravenette
It’s all smiles on Brice Dunwoodie’s J/88 Ravenette*.
© 2021 Sharon Green
Rogers 46 Lucky Duck
The two Rogers 46s, Lucky Duck in the foreground and Bretwalda 3 in the background, fielded two big teams to handle tight-quarters maneuvers and big breezes on San Francisco Bay.
© 2021 Sharon Green / Rolex
The red crew
In the ‘old days’ all this red or black foul weather gear would have been yellow. Apparently yellow is pretty much out.
© 2021 Sharon Green/Rolex

None of this is to say finding, organizing, and managing a crew is easy, but Sharon Green has provided photographic evidence that it is possible. To help skippers and crews connect, Latitude 38 recently updated its Crew List page on the website, so both can list the pertinent information and connect for sailing. Beyond racing, there are lists available for cruising, Mexico only, daysailing and co-chartering. Our recent Crew List party had over 300 people attend, and the new crew list already has over 200 people listed.

Different kind of sailing
The photos above may not be your kind of sailing. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to join sailors on the Bay.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

If you really want to crew, beyond simple sailing skills there are a lot of things you can do to help an owner, with a big one being to help them organize their crew!

Chuck Hawley had other suggestions in his recent Good Jibes Podcast. With the West Coast’s 12-month sailing season there’s a lot of sailing to be done, and with some patience and persistence, it shouldn’t take long for owners to fill up their boats with helpful crew, or for crew to find an owner who gets them sailing the Bay or over the horizon.

*You’ll see more of this crew on Friday.

Good Jibes Episode #8: Katie and Lyall Burgess

In this week’s episode of Good Jibes, Latitude 38‘s John Arndt chats with cruisers Katie and Lyall Burgess to talk about sailing around the world as a family and bringing their kids into the sailing culture. Katie and Lyall are the co-founders of Sun Powered Yachts and met while sailing in St. Lucia after the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) in 2011 — it was love at first sight.

This week’s podcast covers everything from boat schooling to beautiful islands, and in between the conversation turns to myriad topics including working from home (or in this case a boat), Tahiti, Moby Dick, and even Captain Ron! Hear how to sail the world with your family, live off the grid, balance working life and sailing life, find your home in the sailing community, and what Katie and Lyall claim as their favorite sailing adventures.

Katie & Lyall Burgess
This cruising family spent part of the winter sailing in Corsica.
© 2021 Katie & Lyall Burgess

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

  • What is Sun Powered Yachts?
  • How did Katie and Lyall go from backpacking to sailing?
  • What do their daughters do on the boat?
  • How do you turn a charter boat into a cruising boat?
  • What have Katie and Lyall done to prepare for long-term sailing?
  • Where does their philosophy of living off the grid come from?
  • What’s the value of bringing your kids into the sailing culture?
  • Tack or Jibe: If Katie and Lyall could sail anywhere, where would it be?

Don’t miss this fun episode of Good Jibes, 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 PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a five-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

You can also check out the show notes here:

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]

Meet September’s #Women Crush Wednesday Duo

Women Crush Wednesday — #wcw — is a hashtag that has been circulating on social media and has caused us to think about the women who are making themselves known in the world of sailing. Typically, in this situation, we would probably profile a woman who has been succeeding in racing, or has perhaps ventured offshore on a solo voyage or stood out in some way as a sailor. Recently we met two women who aren’t taking line honors every time they sail, but are nonetheless making big strides in their chosen sport.

Noelle Brewin and Laura Levy met in 2018 while crewing aboard the same boat during South Beach Yacht Club’s Friday night racing. Noelle grew up in the Bay Area, spending her time on and around keelboats. “My family was very involved in sailing in both the local and international community, but I didn’t really start learning how to sail until high school when I joined the StFYC junior sailing program.”

Noelle says she’s done a lot more sailing as an adult, participating in both racing and more recently cruising, and these days can usually be found on the course with the SBYC or on her family’s cruising boat.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, Laura was growing up in New York and spending her summers sailing Optis and Lasers on Long Island Sound. “I also worked as a youth sailing instructor in college teaching kids on Optis and Lasers, which was a great experience and some of my favorite summers, but it wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco that I was really exposed to racing keelboats. I currently race in the J/88 fleet and J/105 fleet and also enjoy sailing Etchells and J/22s.”

When the pair met, they immediately recognized their common backgrounds in design and bonded over the idea of creating sailing apparel that is designed specifically for women — a topic that we imagine most of our women readers can relate to. (This writer, for example, has so far not succeeded in finding well-fitting foul weather gear.)

Now don’t get us wrong; we’re not here to advertise Noelle and Laura’s label Sømand, but rather to share the idea that, in our minds, these and many other women are crushing Wednesdays (#wcw). It’s pretty typical to think that being recognized in sailing means you have to win races or break records, or do something daring — on the water. #WCW demonstrates that there are many ways to take line honors. Sharon Green, for example, spends her time hanging out of helicopters holding on to oversized camera lenses to get the fantastic action shots that appear on her website and calendars, and sometimes in Latitude 38.

Laura Ashcraft at RBBS
Logan Ashcraft (pictured above) and the crew of Hijinks were sponsored by Sømand during the recent Rolex Big Boat Series.
© 2021 Sømand

By the way, the word Sømand is Danish and means “sailor.” Laura wrote, “It literally translates to ‘sea man’ and, as we understand it, mostly represents old salty sailormen in Denmark, but we are reclaiming the word for females too!”

“Noelle suggested it initially because her Danish family members were the first people to get her involved in sailing. Her older cousin was the first female she saw in her family actually sailing (as opposed to just sitting on a sailboat or occasionally steering), so it is part homage to her.”

Noelle and Laura see a lot of similarities between sailing and launching a business. “Like sailing, [it] is a series of movements and decisions. You start by learning the basics, gradually learning how to do more and more maneuvers, until it becomes one fluid and intuitive motion.”

Laura (left) and Noelle say, “There are a lot of favorite parts, but one of our most favorite is the incredible group of women sailors we are so fortunate to have met and get to interact with regularly!”
© 2021 Sømand

“It also feels a lot like leaving the dock for the first time … really scary! You really don’t want to hit anything or crash the boat so badly you can’t go out — but to be out there actually sailing, you have to leave the dock!”

We hope to feature this dynamic #wcw duo in a future episode of Good Jibes, so stay tuned!

Who are the women you believe are crushing the sailing world’s Wednesdays? Let us know at [email protected] and type #wcw into the subject line.

Checking the Regatta Calendar for October

This Weekend

The Express 37 Nationals will begin this Friday and run through Sunday the 3rd. Berkeley Yacht Club will host the regatta.

Southwestern YC’s Little Ensenada Race will depart San Diego on October 1.

San Diego YC’s One Design Weekend last Saturday and Sunday doubled as practice for the Etchells North Americans on October 1-3. At the top of the fleet was Argyle Campbell on Rock On from Newport Harbor YC. In second place was SFYC’s Jim Cunningham on Lifted, only three points behind Campbell. In third place, only one point behind Cunningham, was SDYC’s Bruce Nelson on Rhino.

Los Angeles YC will host the Mercury Pacific Coast Championships this weekend, October 2-3. This regatta will be a counter in the Paxton Davis Travel Series. SFYC will host the Moore 24 PCCs in conjunction with their Fall Classic Regatta on the same dates, and Inverness YC on Tomales Bay will welcome the Vanguard 15 Fleet #53 Championship.

On October 2, Sequoia YC will host the Barth Memorial Regatta, an interclub team race between Sequoia and Coyote Point YC. A western-themed party will follow, with BBQ, live country music, and dancing.

Busy Month for El Toros

Half Moon Bay YC’s Vice Commodore’s Regatta on October 2 will race in Pillar Point Harbor, known for moderate winds and flat water. For El Toro sailors, the HMBYC regatta will be good practice for the usually moderate- to light-wind El Toro Stampede, Richmond YC’s oldest regatta, on October 9. The Stampede features skippers’ weight-class races, fleet races and unique prizes for interesting and different courses. It’s particularly fun for Junior El Toro sailors. The class will conclude their summer season on October 24 with the Corkscrew Slough Race at Sequoia YC in Redwood City.

El Toros in Brickyard Cove
El Toro Juniors and Seniors sail together in Brickyard Cove during the Stampede in 2019.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Mid-October Regatta Schedule

A couple of regattas for classic boats come on October 16. St. Francis YC will host the Jessica Cup, while Sausalito YC will conclude their Classic Boat Invitational Series. Folkboats have been racing in the latter, while the Jessica Cup is for classics of 30-ft or more length on deck and Bird Boats. At the same time, StFYC will be running the Calvin Paige Regatta for Star Boats.

Two female-centric regattas are scheduled for October 16 too. South Beach YC’s Red Bra Regatta is for women only, while the dudes are allowed in Tiburon YC’s Joan Storer Memorial Women’s Regatta (the skipper and crew must be made up of at least 50% women).

Also on October 16, singlehanders will race to Vallejo YC in the SSS Vallejo 1-2. They’ll return to Richmond on Sunday doublehanded. Also that weekend, Richmond YC will host the J/24 Western Regional Championship.

Light air sailing in front of VYC
The light-air (no-air?) start of last year’s Vallejo 2 in front of Vallejo YC.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Late October and Halloween

After a year off for COVID, San Diego YC will welcome 12 Master skippers to vie for victory in J/105s at the 2021 International Masters Regatta on October 21-23. Skippers will converge on San Diego from all over the globe: New York, New Zealand, Toronto, Washington and California. The roster includes Bill Campbell (2017 winner), Tad Lacey, Donald Jesberg, Carl Buchan, Bill Menninger (2016 winner), Scott Harris, Andy Roy (2019 winner), Rod Davis, Alan Field, Craig Healy, Phil Lotz and David Gould.

Andy Roy and crew with Canadian flag
Andy Roy, seen here in 2019 with his Royal Canadian YC-flagged crew, is the reigning Masters champion.
© 2021 Mark Albertazzi

On October 23-24, StFYC will run the Fall Dinghy Regatta.

Ready for Halloween? On October 30, TYC will host the Red Rock Regatta. RYC’s Great Pumpkin Regatta will be happening all weekend, with a Wild West theme.

Most of these and many more will appear on the Calendar pages of Latitude 38’s October issue, coming out this Friday.

Getting Ready for the Rally
Ha-Ha sailors who are finding it hard to wait for the official start. There are already seven Ha-Ha boats in Ensenada with more expected soon.