Last weekend, Tempestas, the ancient Roman goddess of storms, took mercy on her fellow ladies of the sea for the 29th Women’s Sailing Seminar (WSS). On the previous days, the Bay Area had experienced a small craft advisory — storms brewing in the mountains, followed by the strongest winds of the year. But across the weekend we were blessed with a perfect weather window of clear skies, 70 degrees and beautiful sailing conditions on the Bay.
The annual WSS is organized by Island Yacht Club (IYC), a club that has faced difficulties over the past two years. In late 2020 they lost their clubhouse to the new development at the Alameda Marina. In the same year they were hit by the pandemic. After the 2020 program went virtual due to COVID, the 2021 seminar returned with a bang with a surprisingly high number of participants. This meant the club had to get creative when putting on the event. The Encinal and Oakland yacht clubs hosted the group, providing dock space and club space where classroom instruction, a speaker series, a yoga class, chair massage, and dinner and evening cocktail parties were held.
The year’s track courses consisted of Beginner, Crew, Sailor, Divas of the Bay, Racing, and Maintenance. Classroom, dockside, and on-the-water instruction gave participants the opportunity for hands-on learning. Marine diesel mechanic and engineer Meredith Anderson taught her WSS class via Zoom last year, from her Catalina 27 in Puget Sound. This year she was able to travel down from Washington to teach her Maintenance class in person. “Lecture is great when teaching concepts, but people tend to learn better hands-on,” she said.
Meredith, who considers herself a cruiser with no racing experience, mentions also having the opportunity to learn a lot herself when her co-instructor, Ros de Vries, pulled out the spinnaker for their final downwind sail on the Estuary. “I definitely learned a lot about flying the spinnaker and racing boat positions,” she added.
The WSS is famously known to be organized and taught by women, for women. “I haven’t taken a formal class with a man in 15+ years, but it’s not about gender, it’s about temperament. There is definitely a camaraderie that happens at WSS that I appreciate, and even in stressful moments we still manage to have fun, stay safe, and have a positive learning experience,” participant Shelli Bohrer said. This was Shelli’s fourth seminar, and this year she volunteered her time to join the committee and help organize the event.
IYC has a reputation for being the “friendly club,” which was undeniable at the heartfelt celebration of Sunday evening’s award ceremony, during which the participants, instructors and board members had the opportunity to share with the group their experience of growing their skills, bonding and sisterhood. Despite the hardships the club has felt recently, the great effort of the members and volunteers upheld the WSS tradition by continuing to inspire and empower new and returning women in the sailing community.
Stay tuned for more on the Women’s Sailing Seminar in November’s issue of Latitude 38.
In a June ‘Lectronic Latitude we posed the question of why, or how, we get multiple Latitude 38 Golden Ticket winners in close succession — when we sometimes go weeks without having anyone come forward. Fortunately, one of our readers, David Cohan, helped us out by explaining the theory of chance — well, that’s what we’re calling it. We won’t go into David’s explanation here, but you can read what he says in our story: “Golden Ticket Run: A Series of Independent Random Events?”
The point of this story is that it has happened again. Neal Doten and Davis Sitzer have each found a Golden Ticket in their October issue of Latitude 38 — a classic case of what David Cohan described as “independent random events.”
Neal Doten popped down to his local distributor, Westpoint Harbor Marina, in Redwood City to pick up his October issue.
Neal has been sailing aboard his own boats for almost 40 years, and for 18 of those years, he was a liveaboard. Consequently, he’s done a lot of cruising, including from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, S.F. to Panama, and S.F. to Manzanillo. He’s also sailed extensively throughout the Bay and the Delta.
David Sitzer has his Latitude 38 delivered each month. And judging from the photo below, he doesn’t wait to get back into the house, but starts reading right away.
David lives in Palo Alto, and as a member of Modern Sailing School & Club in Sausalito, he regularly sails on the Bay. He says he hopes to “do some fall Bay sails soon.” Plus, David and his family often charter together from Marina del Rey to Catalina. Next time he can wear his new Latitude 38 T-shirt.
If you want to get your hands on a Golden Ticket, get your hands on a Latitude 38 magazine. We don’t guarantee you’ll find a ticket, but we do guarantee you’ll find lots of fun and interesting sailing stories and photos.
October 1-3 was an ’80s retro weekend with big hair, shoulder pads, corduroy OP shorts and the Express 37 Nationals Regatta hosted by Berkeley Yacht Club. This is a three-day, one-design regatta featuring these classic ’80s-era boats. Seven boats competed in this Top Gun event with some of the boats traveling from as far away as Los Angeles and Monterey. And why wouldn’t they? It’s San Francisco Bay sailing!
Friday started out with light winds at 5-7 knots coming from the WNW. The first race was a short two-mile windward/leeward warm-up starting and finishing at the Berkeley Circle. Shawn Ivie’s L.A.-based Limitless took first. That was long enough for the wind to come in and shift to WSW and build to 10-15 knots. This brought lunchtime, a new course and a fresh attitude.
Race 2 was twice around the windward/leeward course with a gate at the leeward end and a downwind finish. This was where things got real. A crowded, contentious start brought contact between Jack Peurach’s Elan and Sandy Anderson’s Eclipse, knocking Eclipse’s horseshoe life ring into the Bay. Protests were filed. Elan, being the leeward boat, won the protest, as Eclipse failed to give right of way. The second protest involved Elan hitting a mark at the gate rounding and failing to do proper penalty turns. As it turned out, both Elan and Eclipse were disqualified for Race 2. Once again, Limitless took first in Race 2. Tears were shed. Beer was drunk. Burgers were grilled.
Saturday brought similar weather with light wind and sunny skies. This time however, the wind started at 5-7 knots out of the WSW and built without shifting south — very good news for the mark-set crew. At the request of the skippers, the race committee made the buoy course slightly longer, with the windward mark at 1.25 miles out. The first race was another twice-around with a leeward gate and a downwind finish.
Once again, it was looking as if another evening of protests was in store. The lead boat tacked over at the pin end and headed back down the line on a port tack in front of the other boats to avoid being over early. The rest of the race was clean and close, with Limitless taking first place for a third time in a row.
Race 2 was a 12-mile distance affair taking the boats from the Olympic Circle to Harding Rock, then across to Blossom Rock and back to the start for a downwind finish. This time it was Andy Schwenk and crew on Spindrift V taking first place.
Oddly, there were no protests that evening. The lesson learned here is to make the protest hearings long and close to dinnertime. Speaking of dinner: The regatta dinner was Chef Lauren’s world-renowned paella, which is almost certainly why the E-37 racers keep coming back. It is worth buying an Express 37 just to attend the paella dinner.
Sunday’s weather was a carbon copy of Saturday’s, with light winds and sunny skies. It was all windward/leeward buoy racing. By this time everyone was relaxed, and the starts were clean. No contact. No protests. Two races and two laps around for each race brought the boats and crews in early for trophies and in time to get home. It was the very competent crew of Limitless again taking first place in both buoy races Sunday.
A giant thank-you to all the Berkeley Yacht Club volunteers who staffed the race committee and the protest committee, and who cooked and presented not only the paella dinner but also breakfasts each morning and appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and all that goes with it. It takes an army.
Beyond his designing some of the world’s fastest, most successful race boats and elegant, large cruising yachts, one of the things we most appreciate about naval architect Ron Holland is his simple love of sailing. This shines through clearly when someone with his sailing pedigree continues to participate in weekend PHRF racing aboard his own bright-red Coronado 25, Kia Aura, and, most recently, in the Vancouver, BC, Leukemia Cup Regatta.
As Ron explained, in the racing shot above, “The outboard was down because we found we were in the wrong starting area and had to hustle to the correct one and be ready for the downwind start.” Being on the water is the first and most important thing.
The Kia Aura crew of Laura Fuge from NZ on the helm, Ron Holland from NZ/BC on spinny, plus Chris Barker (foredeck), Susan Fielder, and Chris Hilsden, all from Canada, were racing in the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club Leukemia Cup last month. It’s just another way of having a good time with friends and supporting a good cause while keeping it simple aboard a California-built ‘plastic classic’ from the ’70s.