Enter on Our New Website
If you go to register for the 14th annual Delta Doo Dah cruising rally, the first thing you’ll notice is that we have a new website, www.latitude38.com/delta-doo-dah. We’ve brought the event into the fold of Latitude 38’s main WordPress website. It’s more modern in appearance and construction than our old site, www.deltadoodah.com, which we crafted back when we first created the Doo Dah in 2009.
The new site is not necessarily perfect or complete yet, but Doo Dah veterans have graciously hammered away at the registration form. We feel it’s passed the beta-testing stage. It’s still free to sign up, so go for it!
Sponsors, Supporters and Event Hosts
This year’s Delta Doo Dah will enjoy partnerships with some old friends who return for more fun. Among them are Richmond Yacht Club, Stockton Sailing Club, Summer Sailstice, Owl Harbor Marina, Delta Bay Marina and Peninsula YC.
New this year is sponsorship from the City of Vallejo Marina (aka Vallejo Municipal Marina), managed by F3 Marina. They’re offering all officially registered Delta Doo Dah 14 entries 10 cents per gallon off fuel and 50% off guest berthing. In addition, they’ve donated two door prizes of two free nights plus 25 cents per gallon off fuel. (With the current cost of gas and diesel, we cruisers need all the help we can get!) Vallejo’s a great place to stop on the way to or from the Delta.
Other door prizes to be raffled off include goodies from the California Delta Chambers, five copies of author Jackie Philpott’s new book, What I Saw Sailing in the California Delta, a fabulous gift bag from Owl Harbor, and another gift bag with swag from Summer Sailstice and Latitude 38.
If you’re interested in donating door prizes or sponsoring the Delta Doo Dah, please contact Nicki Bennett at (415) 383-8200 ext. 109 or send her an email.
Kicking Off the Season
Where will these prizes be given away? We’re so glad you asked! For the first time in three years, we’ll reassemble in person for a Kickoff and Delta Cruising Seminar at RYC on Saturday, May 21, from noon to 3 p.m. Longtime cruisers Craig and Ann Perez will present their excellent and entertaining seminar. Owl Harbor’s cruising guide, Get to the Delta, will be among free resources handed out. RYC’s bar and galley will open at 2 p.m.
This event will be free to attend, but bring a credit card for drinks and lunch; the formerly cash-only club no longer accepts cash at all. At the time that we’re posting this, RYC requires all visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but masks are optional. Because not everyone will be able to attend in person, we’re looking into the possibility of recording at least the seminar portion of the event. An RSVP is not required.
We have more information in the May issue of Latitude 38, which comes out today, and will keep you posted here in ‘Lectronic Latitude.
Hooray for May, and the new issue of Latitude 38! The sun is shining, the weather is warming, and our sails are filling. As we launch into this next month we’re excited for all the sailing opportunities that are laid out before us. This month’s magazine covers a host of stories and blasts from the past about sailors and sailboats, along with details of races past and races to come. See the sneak previews below, or jump right in and start at page 1!
Fifty Years Ago I Set Sail From Sausalito — Jim Shaw reflects on his epic voyage out the Gate.
Fifty years ago, I set sail from Sausalito’s Napa Street Pier with three of my best friends for a vaguely planned trip to sail south along the Pacific Coast. We had no destination in mind and no time limit — just a youthful desire to find good surfing and whatever adventures came our way.
Our crew was made up of our neighborhood schoolmate surfing buddies: Zack Schlesinger, myself, Pete Conidi, who went on to be the S.F. cable car head splicer, and Eric Olsson, who had a career in the Merchant Marines.
Zack, now a professor of physics at UCSC, had just returned from Puerto Rico, where he crewed on the delivery of a three-masted tall ship from Los Angeles to Puerto Rico, and I had just returned from a year sailing on an 84-ft Baltic ketch, the Johanne Regina, up and down the Caribbean, bringing tropical fruits from the down islands to the barren Virgin Islands.
I was 20 years old and Zack was 21, and now that we were back home in San Francisco, we went looking for the next adventure. Zack’s idea was to get a whaleboat from the Navy surplus auction, put together a simple rig, and head south. He loved the whaleboat design, especially after reading of Bligh’s 3,700-nautical-mile voyage that got underway after mutineers set him and 18 loyal crewmen adrift in a 23-ft ship’s launch, and Shackleton’s 1,700-kilometer voyage as well, in double-ended, whaleboat-designed small boats.
We were lucky to win a bid for a sturdy 26-ft fiberglass whaleboat launch situated in National City, by San Diego. We took Zack’s father’s new Ford station wagon to the Mission High School night metal shop, and Max Vela installed a heavy-duty towing rig. Towing the boat from National City probably destroyed Zack’s dad’s car, but that was how we were then — a little out of control.
As it did at the conclusion of Season 1 in 2019, the Sail Grand Prix traveling road show came to San Francisco for the grand finale of Season 2. The eight-boat fleet arrived the week ahead of the March 26-27 race dates and took to the Bay waters for practice.
The week did not proceed smoothly for all of the teams. Jimmy Spithill’s USA Team and Tom Slingsby’s Australia Team endured capsizes during training sails. Coincidentally, they were the only two teams already guaranteed spots in the three-boat championship race, due to their points accumulated during the long season.
The Aussie F50 was still undergoing repairs after Thursday’s capsize that caused damage to the wing sail, resulting in the team missing Friday’s practice racing session. Slingsby was the defending champion, having won Season 1. Nathan Outteridge’s Japan team was considered the most likely to round out the top three that would race for the $1 million prize.
A 72-year-old wooden boat washes up on the rocks after a storm, sails set, but abandoned and looking a mess — what do you do? Do you recognize a rare S.F. Bay Bear Boat, and eagerly adopt the project boat? You do if you are intrepid sailor KC Crowell, who took command of the recovery of a wooden Bay Bear Boat in December.
There are only 20 or 30 Bay Bear Boats remaining of the 65-boat fleet. The Bear Class sloop was designed by Ernest Nunes and Marty Martinson in Sausalito, the first keel laid in 1932. Crowell’s found sloop is hull #47, built in 1949. Thanks to recent neglect leading to its crash landing on the rocks in the Alameda Estuary, the wooden boat has seen better days, but its quality and craftsmanship are obvious. Crowell is more than ready for the restoration project as a sailor with a knack for traditional boats.
“I started getting involved in sailing more seriously in 2013 or 2014,” describes Crowell. “I had a regular day job, just an office job. I would sail on the tall ship Lady Washington when she was visiting the Bay. But I was pretty burned out from my office job. I got into conversation with the captain and crew on Lady Washington, quit my job, and did their volunteer program. I never looked back!”
Also in the May issue:
- Letters: Mobile Marks on the Move?; Did Anyone Get That Whale’s Plate Number?; We Need Your Help Looking for a Unique Boat …
- Racing Sheet: Puerto Vallarta Race and MEXORC; SSS Round the Rocks; BYC Wheeler Regatta; Sensible, Sexy Spring Fest; and much more.
- Sightings: Route d’or Attempt — A Success for Ryan Finn; Capt. Donald Lawson’s Dark Seas Project; Scott’s Dream for Animal Farm; Delta Doo Dah 14 Open for Registration; and other stories.
- Changes in Latitudes: Heather Richard and Family: Making a Haulout Into a Cruise; Jamie Meves: Mast Makeover; Kelsey Farber: Third Gen Is a Charm (Part 1); and many more cruiser updates.
- World of Chartering: OPB – Other People’s Boats. This month we let you know how to sail on San Francisco Bay if you don’t know how to sail, don’t own a boat, or want to sail something different.
- Max Ebb: Hooked … or Not.
- Loose Lips: Check out the April Caption Contest(!) winner and top 10 comments.
- The sailboat owners and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds.
If you’ve subscribed to Latitude 38, you should receive your May issue in the mail any minute now. If you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing out. But you can pick up your copy from your favorite distributor.
Three-cabins, two heads. Refitted in 2020 with new sails, running rigging, canvas, batteries, ground tackle. New bottom paint in March.
The only constant in life is change. We continue to chronicle the evolving San Francisco Bay and California waterfront as space for the maritime trades and the sailing community gets squeezed into spaces between condo developments. While looking at photos sent in by Joerg Bashir of the Oakland Sunday Brunch series, we noted the ongoing construction of the enormous Brooklyn Basin project in Oakland.
Unlike so many new waterfront developments showing sailboats off the decks in the sales materials, Brooklyn Basin is actually building a marina along with its development, so adding to the Bay Area’s marine facilities rather than subtracting. As part of this large waterfront development, the new marina will be located along the eastern shore of the Estuary.
In the midst of all this development, Fifth Avenue Marina remains one holdout maintaining a connection to the past. Harbormaster Bud Brown, who’s been managing the place for almost 20 years, says they’re holding on just fine with the funky, unique community that makes up the 100-slip marina and its adjoining artist and maker community. Neighbors Brooklyn Basin and Fifth Avenue Marina provide a sharp contrast to the waterfront changes underway, with Fifth Avenue Marina demonstrating the character of the waterfront lifestyle of the past and Brooklyn Basin the glistening developments of the future.
The project plans to have about 3700 living units, plus retail and a 350-slip marina in and around the old Clinton Basin. The entire project covers 64 acres, of which 32 acres are park/open space. The SFYIMBY online real estate newsletter wrote a story with a more comprehensive view of the entire Brooklyn Basin development.
While this project is actually adding facilities to the Bay, it is across the Estuary from Alameda Marina, which used to be a thriving hub of marine businesses but is now becoming all condos. The Alameda Marina development plans called for a boatyard tenant but, to date, none has been found. The Sausalito Working Waterfront is working hard to prevent the space available for the maritime trades along the Sausalito waterfront from shrinking further. The pressure on waterfront space for the maritime trades and access to sailing continues to grow, though we’re happy to see one project that includes new space for sailing.
May is just around the corner, and with it, Sailing Education Adventures‘ (SEA) “Messing About in Boats Saturdays!” and Safe Boating Day. SEA is also holding adult Small-Boat Beginning Sailing classes. Read on for all the details.
Safe Boating Day May 7
Sailing Education Adventures (SEA) is offering a Safe Boating Day on May 7 at the Marin Yacht Club from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.!
“Counselors will be available to take adults and kids out for a “mini lesson” on our sailboats. We will have boating safety information to hand out, and we will be fitting and handing out PFDs! We have adult and children’s sizes! Come get your own!”
Safe Boating Day is funded by Division of Boating and Waterways.
Messing Around in Boats Saturdays!
SEA has designated the first Saturday of every month as “Messing About in Boats Saturdays!”
This is a way for SEA members to come on down to the docks, with other, knowledgeable members, and mess about in our boats!
There is always something that needs to be done to keep our fleet healthy and available to our members, students and campers.
So every first Saturday morning, Doug and Jane will be on the docks with something to do! Members can come and help out, volunteer a bit of their time to help this community sailing organization, and maybe learn something about boats! Best of all, meet other like-minded members, and join us in a sense of community, around our boats.
Small-Boat Beginning Sailing Classes
If you have been wanting to take this class, either because you are a brand-new sailor, or because you want to brush up on your skills (many of our members have done this), now is the time to sign up.
Classes are filling quickly, as we had a wait list of 16 people from last year, and many inquiries over the winter. The May class has already filled!
An introduction to sailing small boats (the BEST way to learn to sail!), Small-Boat Beginning Sailing is perfect for the novice sailor or someone with prior sailing experience who is looking to brush up on their skills.
Students will learn to tack, jibe, sail on all points of sail, dock the boat, and get into and out of “safety position” and into and out of “irons”. Safety and self-confidence are stressed. Class will cover basic knots, and rigging a simple small sailboat.
“Sailing Education Adventures (SEA) is the North Bay Area’s community sailing organization dedicated to providing on-the-water activities and affordable sailing lessons to youths and adults. Members enjoy sailing, kayaking, socials, workshops, and other community-oriented activities.”
To find other local community and youth sailing opportunities, head over to our Youth Sailing page.