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May 4, 2022

Silver Pacific Coast Championship Sailed in Picturesque Conditions

Encinal Yacht Club hosted the 2022 Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association (PCISA) Silver Pacific Coast Championship last weekend. The sailing conditions on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary provided numerous photo opportunities for those watching from the sidelines. Joerg Bashir had his camera ready and sent us some stunning images of the high school sailing teams going head to head — or bow to stern — in the two-day regatta.

Sixteen schools entered teams that competed across two divisions aboard 13-ft CFJs (Club Flying Juniors). The 220-lb, 4-ft-wide dinghies have a reputation for delivering fast, exhilarating sailing.

The technical lines of the new Brooklyn Basin construction site are a striking contrast to the fluidity of the CFJs scooting past on the breeze.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir
A little too much action for one of the boats.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir
Keep your eye on the prize.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir
Don’t ever believe anyone who says small boats aren’t fun.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir
These dinghies make a mighty fine-looking race fleet.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir
Up close and personal is probably the best way to race.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir

Topping the A Division were Walter McFarland and Hampton Tester. Skipper Tate Oyler, with Morgan Williams crewing for most of the races and Thomas Hofer for Races 3 and 4, won the B Division. Both of the winning teams were sailing for the Mater Dei High School Monarchs of Santa Ana. Teams from the Stevenson School in Monterey came in second in both divisions. The Alameda High School Hornets, sailing in their home waters, placed third — also in both divisions. Each division had 18 entries.

Mission Bay YC in San Diego will host the Gold PCCs, for the William Wakeman Trophy, on May 14-15. MBYC will also host the Mallory Interscholastic Sailing Association Doublehanded Championship on June 4-5. (PCISA is a regional district of the national ISSA organization. PCISA covers Arizona, California, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada.)

Welcome to Good Jibes Episode 38 With Peter Isler

Welcome to Good Jibes! This week’s host, John Arndt, is joined by Peter Isler to chat about Peter’s lifetime of racing and giving back to the sailing community, plus his life-changing scare on Rambler 100. Peter is a two-time America’s Cup winner, a Collegiate Sailor of the Year at Yale University, founder of the American Sailing Association, author, and speaker.

Peter Isler
At minute 32:36, find out what is Peter’s favorite boat.
© 2022 Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

Peter almost lost his life in 2011 when Rambler 100 lost its keel and capsized during the Fastnet Race. Hear his thoughts on modern-day racing, competing in the America’s Cup aboard Stars and Stripes, what helped him survive the Rambler 100 incident, why he enjoys teaching about sailing and the weather, and the time he met three presidents in three days.

This episode covers everything from winning to teaching. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How did Peter become an all-American at Yale?
  • What did he think he’d be doing after school?
  • How did the Rambler 100 incident change his life?
  • Where was he during the incident?
  • How did he find his passion for sailing?
  • Why does he enjoy teaching?
  • What made him write a business book about sailing?
  • Short Tacks: What does he do when not sailing or racing?

Take Peter’s weather course at and learn more on Facebook @IslerBlueBook.

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!

BAMA Conducts Emergency Steering Training

The Bay Area Multihull Association conducted an emergency-steering training event on Saturday, April 16, in the waters south of Yerba Buena Island. We had torrential rain the morning of the event, but as forecast, the rain passed, and we had wonderful weather for the event, with southwest winds of 10-18 knots, and eventually plenty of sunshine.

To prepare for the event, we had a Zoom webcast on emergency steering methods ahead of the actual on-the-water training (a recording is available here).

For the on-the-water training, we had two Chris White Explorer 44 trimarans, Round Midnight and Caliente. We were intent on trying a few different emergency steering methods. Round Midnight had a new, lighter carbon emergency rudder they were going to deploy. Caliente was looking to test steering with the emergency tiller, plus trying steering with an improvised drogue. Our intention was to try to sail a short course from just south of Yerba Buena Island to the NAS1 buoy [in the South Bay off the old Alameda Naval Air Station] and back again.

Carbon Emergency Rudder

Round Midnight was first to go. sailing away using the emergency rudder. That new emergency rudder is much lighter and was much easier to deploy off the back of the boat than the previous stainless steel emergency rudder.

Deploying carbon rudder on Round Midnight
Crew on Round Midnight deploy the recently built carbon emergency rudder.
© 2022 Truls Myklebust

Round Midnight appeared to make good progress south — that is until they provided too much steering input. The new emergency rudder also allowed for a greater steering angle. That turned out to be too much, and the rudder broke under the forces at play. That was unfortunate, but it’s much better finding out about that during a training event inside the Bay than discovering the problem far offshore in rough conditions after breaking the main rudder. This is precisely why it’s so important to actually do the real-life training!

Explorer 44 Round Midnight sailing
Round Midnight sails away using the emergency rudder
© 2022 Truls Myklebust

Emergency Tiller

On Caliente, we first tried deploying the emergency tiller.

Steering emergency tiller from inside
David Kuettel steering from inside the aft cabin on Caliente using the emergency tiller, with Jim Struble checking the heading on a handheld compass from down below.
© 2022 Truls Myklebust

Using the emergency tiller worked really well, and it was workable using that handheld compass to keep a compass heading. However, it was very disconcerting to steer the boat from down below deck without being able to see where the boat was heading. With this setup, we could keep a compass heading, but the helmsman was completely dependent on a crewmember in the cockpit to keep a lookout and provide signals on where to steer.

Drogue Steering

Next, we tried steering with an improvised drogue. We used an auxiliary anchor with about 15 feet of chain and a large fender, and deployed that with lines run through screacher blocks that we attached to midship cleats on the floats on each side of the boat. Those lines were run to winches in the cockpit.

Deploying improvised drogue
David Kuettel deploying the improvised drogue.
© 2022 Truls Myklebust

The rudder is not easily removable on Caliente, so we left the wheel free to turn during the event. That meant that no real steering input came from the main rudder — which mostly aligned itself with the direction that the boat was heading (or turning). The drogue gave us good steering stability. We had good sail balance with a jib and triple-reefed main. Because we had decent speed too, the NAS1 mark came up in no time.

Steering with lines to drogue
Jim Struble in the cockpit checking the compass heading while managing the drogue control lines.
© 2022 Truls Myklebust

We first tried jibing around the mark, but we found that while we could easily bear away, we were not able to complete a jibe. The boat would not turn through the wind downwind, even with the drogue completely hauled over to the port side. We then tried tacking with the drogue steering. That worked better, but yet again we were unable to complete the turn. The boat would stall out when headed into the wind, and would eventually fall back onto the same tack.

For the tack, it might have worked better if we’d had more mainsail deployed (e.g. just the second reef rather than the third reef), but it would be impractical to have to shake out a reef just to tack, and then put the reef back in again for sail balance afterward. Instead, we fired up the diesel engine and tried to motor our way through the tack, steering with the drogue, and that worked fine. After some struggles stabilizing our course on the opposite tack, we were again able to steer up into the wind and bear away using the drogue steering, and we were able to complete the course.

Overall, it was a very successful event; we learned a lot. This is all about preparing boat and crew to be ready in the event that steering is actually lost in a real-life situation at sea.

Live Crew Overboard Training

BAMA’s next opportunity for practical safety training is our Live Crew Overboard Training event that’s happening on Sunday, May 15, in the waters between the Berkeley Circle and the Richmond Breakwater.  The event is open to both monohulls and multihulls, and is an excellent opportunity to prepare crews for real-life crew overboard recovery, such as for boats preparing for Pacific Cup or other offshore races, or even for crews just sailing right here in the Bay.

It’s been a couple of years since the last time we ran this event — just before the pandemic. For this year’s event, we will allow boats to approach the crew-overboard area with any combination of headsails, including a spinnaker, to simulate what it could be like in real life during a race. More sail and more speed complicate the recovery process. Recovering an actual person from the water is nothing like practicing with a bucket and a fender!

Here’s the link to register your boat for the event: Note that in the interest of safety, there is a four-crew-per-boat minimum requirement (see the event documents posted on Jibeset for details).

Trouble in Paradise as BVI Officials Are Arrested

The British Virgin Islands is a paradise for sailing charters. Unfortunately, that well-deserved reputation for sailing is getting a black eye as the premier of the BVI has been arrested in Miami on corruption and drug charges. The saying goes, “Truth is stranger than fiction,” and the alleged truth in this story reads like a classic crime novel.

British Virgin Island Anchorage
Even paradise has its troubles.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Andy

According to reports in the New York Times and other media outlets, the arrest resulted from a US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operation in which US agents posed as cocaine traffickers from a Mexican drug cartel. The Times writes, “A man who presented himself as working for the Sinaloa Cartel, but who was a confidential source for the federal authorities, met with Ms. Maynard [Oleanvine Maynard, Managing Director of BVI’s Port Authority] on March 20, according to the complaint.

“The man told Ms. Maynard he needed help ferrying thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia through Tortola, which is in the British Virgin Islands, according to the document. Ms. Maynard agreed to assist, and said Mr. Fahie would also be open to such an arrangement, according to the complaint.”

It is alleged that the BVI Premier, Andrew Fahie, “requested an upfront payment of $500,000 to let cocaine slip through the territory en route to Miami and New York.”

The trouble didn’t stop there. Ms. Maynard and her son Kadeem Stephan Maynard were arrested as alleged accomplices. The BBC reports the trio is charged with “conspiracy to import more than 5kg (11lb) of cocaine into the US and conspiring to commit money laundering.” It appears the “sting” began in October and involved a DEA informant who met with Mr. Fahie to discuss plans for smuggling “thousands of kilograms of Colombian cocaine worth tens of millions of dollars” through the British colony to Puerto Rico, then to Miami and New York. There were even plans for Mr. Fahie to set up “pre-arranged busts” over money and low-quality drugs in order to build an appearance of fighting crime.

The BVI premier had been the subject of an inquiry since January 2021 amid allegations of “misgovernment and money laundering.” British foreign secretary Liz Truss is quoted as saying, “I am appalled by these serious allegations. This arrest demonstrates the importance of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry.” The inquiry she referred to was to determine if there was any “evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty” in the public office.

Britain is now looking at “a form of direct rule” over the islands, The Guardian reported.

The moral of this story? Don’t do crime, kids. Even in paradise, it can have dire consequences.

Do I Need a Passport?
Along with crews from 81 other starters, we found ourselves enjoying the scene at Vallejo Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon.