Bernard Girod’s well-honed team on the chartered Lombard 46 Pata Negra rocked the world-famous Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille regatta with a 6-0 record. Sometimes they won big; sometimes they bested the Martinique-based Farr 40 Perseverare Diabolicum by a mere 23 seconds after nearly three hours of open-ocean racing.
The Pata Negra crew excelled in every sailing condition possible, particularly during the first three races, with winds in the 20s and considerable seas. They also managed to keep their focus despite the island’s legendary opportunities to party into the wee hours. Not even the often-victorious Puerto Rican Voiles entry Lazy Dog, a Melges 32, could match their stellar record.
The Santa Barbara Yacht Club’s Rock & Roll crew was one of just three teams to score all bullets. Charterer Girod normally drives, but because of an injury, former Latitude 38 racing editor Rob Grant filled in brilliantly.
“This was my first time here,” said Rob, “and it far exceeded my already-lofty expectations. It’s some of the best sailing I’ve ever done. Being able to race around so many geographical features is really awesome. Shoreside, the parties were unrivaled by any regatta I’ve been to so far.
“As much fun as it was for me to do a lot of the driving, all of us would much rather have had our skipper Bernard Girod — who won ORR A (and the St. Francis Perpetual) at Rolex Big Boat Series last year with our awesome team — on board the entire time. When he returned on the final day from a back injury suffered ahead of our second practice day, he was hitting the numbers we’d worked all week to get to.”
The spectacular 70-boat regatta was supposed to be highlighted by the Swan 125 Skorpios and the 100-ft Comanche. That was before Putin invaded Ukraine and World Sailing banned the two speedsters.
As a result, the maxi division consisted of George David’s Rambler 88, which took line honors in each race; Wendy Schmidt’s Botin 85 Deep Blue; Hap Fauth’s JV 74 Bella Mente; and the Ken Keefe-managed JV 72 Vesper, owned by Jim Swartz. Vesper won four of the five races, some of which were 47 rhumbline miles long.
The spectacle of the dueling maxis wowed competitors and spectators alike, as the fastest among them sometimes flew along at 30 knots or more.
Greg Slyngstad’s unique Bieker 53 catamaran Fujin represented the Pacific Northwest. While she finished third in class, Fujin was one of the most exciting sights, flying along with one hull out of the water. Just ahead of Fujin was California sailor David Welch with the beautiful blue HH66 Flash, which came in second in the Offshore Multihull Division.
A second Santa Barbara entry, John Vincent and Ken Kieding’s chartered J/121 Wings, didn’t fare quite as well, regularly finishing in the middle of the pack in her class. Not satisfied, John Vincent vows to return next year with his J/125. Not surprisingly, Girod says he and his Pata Negra team will be back, too.
The Voiles prides itself on superb sailing and superb partying. Nobody exemplified the spirit of the duality as well as KJ Paradise of Pata Negra. KJ is the captain of the owner’s yacht in Santa Barbara. Not only was she a very active floater on the all-bullets Pata Negra, but she “won” the Nikki Beach layday party by being: 1) the only woman to dive for and retrieve a champagne bottle; 2) the dynamic ringleader of several women’s tug-of-war teams that bested the men; and 3) the first to dance on the tables. Voiles poster girl!
The written word and still photographs are inadequate to capture the excitement and glory of Les Voiles. You’re cheating yourself if you don’t check out the videos at https://lesvoilesdestbarthrichardmille.com.
This week’s host Moe Roddy is joined by Katie Pettibone to chat about the best and gnarliest times of Katie’s illustrious racing career. Katie has competed in two Olympic campaigns and three America’s Cups, and was one of the first women to race in the Whitbread Round the World Race (now The Ocean Race) and the Worrell 1000.
Hear how to manage crises during races, her craziest racing stories, why sailing translates to other areas of life, how to train for major races, and about giving back to the next generation of sailors.
This episode covers everything from racing tips to crisis management. Here’s a small sample:
- Where did Katie grow up and start sailing?
- How was the Whitbread?
- Does Katie ever get scared on the water?
- What is the Worrell 1000?
- How is sailing different for women?
- What is the Rising Tide Leadership Institute?
- How many women were on the racing team?
- Short Tacks: If Katie could have coffee with anyone, who would it be?
Learn more about Katie at https://katiepettibone.org/.
Schedule an appointment with Club Nautique for the Get to Know Jeanneau weekend, April 29-May 1, in Alameda, CA.
At the start of April we posted a trivia contest to coincide with Latitude 38‘s 45th anniversary. Yes! The West Coast’s favorite sailing magazine has been in print for nearly half a century! We recognize that some of our readers weren’t even born when the first issue went to press, but to make sure everyone has an equal chance at taking a prize, we’ve included hints for each question.
Here are some sample questions, sans hints:
1. What was the first full column where Max Ebb and Lee Helm appeared?
2. For Women’s History Month: When was Latitude 38’s first “Women’s Issue?”
3. Who is on the cover of the second-ever issue of Latitude 38 (spring 1977), and what boat is he sailing?
4. What still-active San Francisco Bay race boat design turns 100 this year?
To see the included hints, and the remaining questions, go to the 45th Anniversary Trivia Contest page. There you will find everything you need to answer the questions and enter the drawing for a prize pack with swag and a year-long subscription to Latitude 38.
Trivia Contest ends at 5 p.m. on April 30. Winners will be announced on May 10, and the answers will be published in ‘Lectronic Latitude and Latitude‘s social media pages.
Thanks for reading and supporting sailing for 45 wonderful years!
Yacht Racing Association Regattas
Today (until midnight) is the deadline to register for this weekend’s Great Vallejo Race on April 30-May 1. Don’t miss the run to Vallejo YC, the raft-up and party, and the race back on Sunday. Sign up through the YRA’s Jibeset page. As of this morning, 113 boats had entered.
The YRA’s new 150-mile Bluewater Bash ocean race will take place on May 6-8. Registration is already closed, with 28 boats entered. This inaugural edition will honor Jocelyn Nash.
You can still sign up for the next OYRA race, May 14’s Duxship (Duxbury Reef Buoy and the Lightship are the rounding marks).
Calling Women Skippers and Crew
SFYC will host the second annual Anne McCormack Women’s Invitational Cup. The regatta is open to all-women crews and will sail on the Knox racecourse on May 7.
On May 14-15, San Francisco YC will host the Elite Keelboat Regatta. J/105, J/88, J/70, Express 37, Express 27, Melges 24, SF Bay IOD, Knarr and RS21 classes are invited.
St. Francis YC and J/105 Fleet 1 will present the S.F. Bay J/105 Women Skipper Invitational regatta May 21-22. “Fleet 1 is inviting qualified women with competitive sailing experience to sample the fun action these boats enjoy while racing on the windy San Francisco Cityfront race course — as skippers,” writes Nicole Breault of the J/105 Arbitrage.
Most of the boats will come staffed with their usual (coed) crews, and all will have an owner’s representative aboard. There may be a boat or two with flexibility for the guest skipper to bring along her own qualified teammates. Saturday will include an optional practice followed by dinner and a panel discussion on the history of the J/105 Class, women in sailing, and some go-fast pointers. Three races are scheduled for Sunday’s regatta. If you are an interested woman with helming experience, or if you are a J/105 owner who would like to participate and is seeking a skipper, please contact Nicole Breault at [email protected].
More May Regattas
StFYC invites one-design dinghy classes to the Elvstrom/Zellerbach Regatta on May 14-15.
Memorial Day Weekend
The Master Mariners Regatta will kick off the three-day weekend in grand style on Saturday the 28th, with spectating from the S.F. Marina and Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Bridge, and (for the finish) the east side of Treasure Island. Most of the entries will end up rafted up at Encinal YC in Alameda.
With the border between the US and Canada reopened, Royal Victoria YC can bring back the Swiftsure International Yacht Race on May 28-30.
California Offshore Race Week will run May 28-June 2. The first leg, the Spinnaker Cup, will take sailors from San Francisco to Monterey on May 28. The Coastal Cup will sail from Monterey to Santa Barbara May 30-31. An in-port race hosted by Santa Barbara YC will follow on June 1. The SoCal 300, from Santa Barbara to San Diego, will start on June 2.
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