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April 27, 2022

Santa Barbara Sailors Kill It at Les Voiles de St. Barth

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.

Rob Grant
Rob Grant at the helm aboard the chartered Lombard 46 Pata Negra at the 2022 Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille.
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

“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.

Vesper sailing Les Voile
Ken Keefe manages the racing program for the Judel/Vrolijk 72, Vesper
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

The spectacle of the dueling maxis wowed competitors and spectators alike, as the fastest among them sometimes flew along at 30 knots or more.

Botin 85, Deep Blue.
Wendy Schmidt’s Botin 85 Deep Blue.
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

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.

David Welch's, HH 66 Flash
Californian David Welch’s HH66 Flash took second in the Offshore Multihull division ahead of Greg Slyngstad’s Fujin.
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing
Bieker Fujin
Taking third in Offshore Multihull, Greg Slyngstad’s Fujin put on a show.
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

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.

J/121 Wings
The Santa Barbara crew aboard the J/121 Wings is fired up and ready for more.
© 2022 Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

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!

KJ - Santa Barbara
KJ Paradise, from Pata Negra, claimed the champagne with a dive.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Richard

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

Good Jibes With Moe Roddy and Racing Sailor Katie Pettibone

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.

Katie Pettibone image
At minute 15:30 hear about Katie’s experience in the Worrell 1000.
© 2022 Katie Pettibone

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

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

Latitude 38’s 45th Anniversary Trivia Contest Closes Soon!

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?

Trivia contest_cover image
Go back in time to May 1977 for the answer to question #3.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives

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.

1970s covers
When you’ve completed your entry in the Trivia Contest, take a stroll through the archives. It’s kind of neat to see how the covers have changed over the decades. From the home page, scroll down to “Back Issues.” Start at 1977 and work your way forward …
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

Thanks for reading and supporting sailing for 45 wonderful years!

An Array of Regattas Comes Our Way in May

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.

Vallejo Race raftup
Saturday’s post-race raft-up in Vallejo YC’s harbor is part of the fun. We expect the weather this weekend to be warm and sunny.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

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).

The YRA’s Sunday Shorthanded Series will continue on May 15. The next YRA Summer Series race day will be May 21 on the Cityfront.

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.

Anne McCormack on Express 27
Anne McCormack on the helm of the Express 27 Shenanigans in SFYC’s 2015 Auxiliary Cup.
© 2022 San Francisco Yacht Club

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

Santa Cruz YC will host the Moore 24 PCCs on May 13-15.

StFYC invites one-design dinghy classes to the Elvstrom/Zellerbach Regatta on May 14-15.

Richmond YC will host the Express 27 National Championships on May 20-22.

The next race in the SSS series will be the Singlehanded Farallones on the 21st. The deadline to register is May 18.

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.

Master Mariners raft-up
Another raft-up, this one at Encinal YC following the Master Mariners Regatta in 2021.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Alamitos Bay YC will host a Memorial Day Regatta in Long Beach, and Whiskeytown Sailing Club welcomes the trailer crowd to their Memorial Weekend Regatta, both on May 28-29.

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.

So many regattas pepper the calendar this spring that we can only post a sampling of them here. For many more, see the Calendar, coming out in the May issue of Latitude 38 this Friday, April 29.

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