Skip to content
December 20, 2021

Ryan Finn to Make Second Solo New York-to-San Francisco Attempt

Back in December 2020 we wrote about Ryan Finn, who was planning to be the only solo sailor to sail nonstop from New York to San Francisco on a proa. On January 1, 2020, he left aboard his 36-ft proa Jzerro, but equipment failure caused him to abort his attempt. He’s at it ‘aginn’.

Jzerra Proa
Jzerra is now repaired and ready to go again in 2022.
© 2021 2Oceans1Rock

Ryan Finn is now ready to make a second attempt to sail the almost 14,000-mile course from New York to San Francisco. Starting in New York in January 2022 won’t be warm, but it should allow him to round Cape Horn in reasonable weather and then turn back north for the long sail to San Francisco. You can keep up with his voyage here.

It’s a rarely attempted and daunting route that had its first, fully-crewed record of 89 days and 8 hours set by Flying Cloud in 1854. That record stood until Warren Luhrs on Thursday’s Child beat it with a time of 80 days and 20 hours. The current crewed record hasn’t been beaten since 2008, when it was set by Lionel Lemonchois aboard the 110-ft maxi catamaran Gitana 13, in a time of 43 days 3m 18s. Ryan Finn and Jzerra are not out to beat that record but to make their own mark for an innovative 36-ft South Pacific proa design.

Why You Might Need a Fishing Net

Bay Area sailor Jeff Berman, a regular reader and occasional contributor to Latitude 38, sent us this photo showing the contents of his fishing net. “My daily trash pickup from water at slips,” he explains. “Masks, bottle caps, chip bags, bottles, plastic bags, condoms — you can imagine the rest.”

Trash in fishing net
Jeff Berman’s trash collection last week.
© 2021 Jeff Berman

One day when we were sailing into Richmond Harbor, we spotted a Mylar balloon in the water (curse you, Mylar balloons!) and tried to pick it up with our boat hook. We couldn’t snag it, and the balloon drifted off into water too shallow for our keelboat to continue hunting it. If only we’d had a fishing net!

Another Girl pumpkin hunting
Another use for fishing nets: pumpkin foraging! This is Cinde Lou Delmas and her crew, with the kids scooping up pumpkins while racing around Alcatraz in Richmond Yacht Club’s Great Pumpkin Regatta on Halloween.
© 2021

Are there other uses for fishing nets on a sailboat? And what are some of your most interesting or prolific trash hauls? Feel free to comment below.

Max Ebb — Drag for Poor People

In December’s Latitude 38, Max Ebb draws on Lee Helm’s expertise to find a solution for a technical question regarding a long-distance race boat.

I had calculated correctly that Lee Helm, grad student in naval architecture, would still be awake this late at night. And I needed to solve a technical problem: A friend at the yacht club was gearing up for some long ocean races in the spring and summer, and wanted me to help calculate what kind of battery charging system would slow the boat down the least.

I typed:

“Lee, this guy is a fanatic about extra drag. He wouldn’t even let us put a fishing line overboard on a race to Mexico a couple of years ago. At least, not till the standings had us in the bottom half on corrected time. Then we went into cruise mode, and caught a very nice yellowfin.”

Lee responded:

“For sure. Nothing takes the drive out of a crew like knowing that they’re at the tail end of the fleet in a long ocean race. My grandfather said that in his day, there were no trackers and no check-ins; and no GPS, so even when there was a roll call, the positions could be way off. The good part was that the crew raced hard, all the way to a last-place finish.”

Which prompted from me:

“Watch this ‘grandfather’ stuff. I remember those days too. We could imagine we were winning, right up until we came around the last breakwater after finishing and saw how many of our competitors were already tied up at the guest dock.”

Lee came back with:

“I can see how it must have been better for crew morale, to keep the pedal down when there’s always even a thin chance you’re awesome.”

Finally I got around to asking my question:

“My friend needs to know how much drag his boat is producing at various speeds, so he can figure out how much time is lost when he uses a water turbine for battery charging. He sent me his ORR certificate, which is full of all kinds of good performance info, but it never actually publishes the resistance curve. That must be in there somewhere under the hood.”

Lee answered:

“For sure, but there are ways of backing it out.”

Max Ebb - Drag
A few seconds over many miles can be the difference between a win and a place farther down the field.
© 2021 Max Ebb

Find out what those ways are by reading the full story at

Local Aussies Win Sydney SailGP

SailGP’s Sydney event has come to an end, and we’re all looking forward to the action of the F50 foiling cats tearing across San Francisco Bay next year. Will you have a front row seat? Our Down Under friend, Stewart Murray, was on Sydney Harbour this past weekend and had an up-close view of the boats racing around the course.

Team USA in classic foiling mode with the Sydney city skyline in the background.
© 2021 Stewart Murray
Sydney SailGP
Great Britain and Spain go head to head.
© 2021 Stewart Murray
How close can they get without touching?
© 2021 Stewart Murray
Denmark zips by in hopes of a win.
© 2021 Stewart Murray
Rounding the mark.
© 2021 Stewart Murray
Team USA scoots by on Thursday’s practice day. We just include this photo so you can see the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
© 2021 Stewart Murray

A big thank you to Stewart for sharing his photos. Some of our readers may have bumped into Stewart over the years and across the oceans. Stewart is as salty as they come, a pirate at heart, and all-around good guy. And if you happen to be one of those who were aboard when Stewart lost his lucky hat during the 59th annual Wirth M. Monroe Yacht Race in Florida all those years ago, fear not — he has a new lucky hat.

From Florida to the Bahamas, Maine to the Pacific, and everywhere in between, Stewart never stops sailing.
© 2021 Stewart Murray

Race Day 2

After an uneven first day of racing, Tom Slingsby’s Australia team pulled out the win on Day 2, to the great pleasure of the local crowd. The Aussies thus qualify for March’s Grand Final. USA took second place and also booked their ticket for the $1 million showdown in San Francisco.

Nathan Outteridge inspects broken bow
Nathan Outteridge, CEO and driver of Japan SailGP Team, looks at the damage to the F50 catamaran caused by a collision with the Great Britain SailGP team at the start of Race 3.
© 2021 Patrick Hamilton / SailGP

After the Brits sliced off their starboard bow on Friday, the Japan team used a hybrid boat on Day 2. The British team did not race, instead loaning their boat to the Japan team, led by Aussie Nathan Outteridge. Japan won the first two races of the day; Australia won the penultimate race. In the final, the Australia team vanquished the US and Spain.

Japan team on red Brit boat
The Japan team quickly rebranded the red boat borrowed from the Brits and raced successfully on Day 2. The hybrid boat comprised the Brits’ hull and the Japan team’s 24-meter wing sail and hydrofoils. Sir Ben Ainslie and his team gave up their boat so that Japan could compete.
© 2021 Phil Hilyard / SailGP

Sydney Event Results

  1. Australia, 3-7-1-4-2-(1); 28
  2. USA, 6-3-2-3-4-(2); 27
  3. Spain, 1-2-3-6-6-(3); 27
  4. Japan, 7-1-7-1-1; 26
  5. New Zealand, 5-8-5-2-3; 22
  6. Denmark, 4-5-4-7-5; 20
  7. France, 8-6-6-5-7; 11
  8. Great Britain, 2-4-7-8-8; 6

Great Britain received 6 penalty points; France received 2 penalty points.

Season 2 Leaderboard

  1. Australia, 55 points
  2. USA, 53
  3. Japan, 51
  4. Spain, 43
  5. New Zealand, 42
  6. Great Britain, 41
  7. Denmark, 38
  8. France, 35
Racing Continues Today
A collision between Great Britain and Japan took both teams out the race — and out of the remainder of the Sydney SailGP regatta.
Let Your Lights Shine
The Lighted Boat Parades continue! Tonight, the St. Francis YC’s Decorated Boat Parade in San Francisco will travel between Crissy Field and the Marina Green.