Kenichi Horie has become the oldest person to sail solo across the Pacific. “At 2:39 a.m. [JST] on June 4, 2022, we reached the Kii Suido off the coast of Cape Hinomisaki in Wakayama Prefecture, which was the goal,” he wrote in his log. “I’m tired.” Kenichi then waited for the sunrise, at which time Suntory Mermaid III would be towed to his home port, Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor.
Right to the end the weather continued to toy with the solo sailor, and as the month of May became June, Kenichi’s focus was on crossing one of the globe’s major currents, the Kuroshio Current — also known as the Japan, or Black Current (“Kuro” meaning black) — one of the ocean’s major currents. “The wind direction is not stable. I would like to bring the yacht to around 134 degrees east longitude and break through the Kuroshio Current, but it does not proceed slowly.” Three days later he had reached the other side of the current, exhausted and relieved.
“Don’t let your dreams just stay as dreams. Have a goal and work towards achieving this and a beautiful life awaits,” Kenichi told a CNN reporter over satellite phone as he made the final leg of his voyage.
Kenichi has attributed much of his success to the support he received throughout the crossing. “The second half of this voyage, especially from Minami-Tori-shima to Japan, was a very difficult voyage. I think it was completed because of the support and encouragement of my amateur radio friends, those who read the logbook, and many others.”
In his final log entry Kenichi wrote, “70 days after leaving the San Francisco Yacht Club, which [I] arrived [at] 60 years ago. I was able to return safely without any major deviation from the original plan.
“Now, I am really happy while returning to my home port, Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor, and watching my boat, Mermaid III. It was good to try. I’m glad I did my best. I feel fine in Japan. Thank you very much.”
We join the world in congratulating Kenichi Horie on his successful Pacific crossing back to his home country, where his journey began 60 years earlier.
Sailed by Seattle-based Alex Simanis and crew, Pell Mell has won California Offshore Race Week overall. “This is a remarkable accomplishment, but even more amazing is the fact that they achieved it racing on a renovated 27-ft plywood boat built 35 years ago,” writes Dennis Palmer, a friend of Alex. “Pell Mell is a Point Bonita 27, built in 1987 by Dave Sutter, flying the burgee of the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club. Their competitors raced in boats as long as 70 feet, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The smallest boat that sailed the entire course of California Offshore Race Week won the first leg, the Spinnaker Cup overall, the SoCal 300 overall, and CORW overall. At the opposite extreme of the fleet size range, the Santa Cruz 70 Pied Piper won the Coastal Cup overall.
CORW started in San Francisco with the Spinnaker Cup to Monterey on Saturday, May 28; continued with the Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara starting on May 30; and finished with the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego starting on June 2.
Conditions ranged from typical breezy conditions in San Francisco Bay at the start, to very light air down the coast past Half Moon Bay, to gale warnings on Memorial Day (a few boats opted to start the voyage to Santa Barbara on Tuesday instead of Monday due to the dire forecast), to more light air on the SoCal leg.
We’ll have much more in the July issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, check out the results at https://offshoreraceweek.com.
Our thanks to the folks who welcomed us in Monterey.
Waves of improvement are transforming the Berkeley Marina. Download a free day pass for your boat and check out all the improvements we have to offer. A clean, fenced entrance off the freeway transitions drivers off I-80 while smooth paving and new street improvements guide you to your dock gate. Come on in to check out our renovated restrooms, dock improvements, and more.
You may be asking, “Why should I sign up for this year’s Baja Ha-Ha?” If so, here are some good reasons …
In addition to 750 miles of almost-certain downwind sailing, there are seven social events: the Costume Kick-Off Party; the Turtle Bay Cruisers versus Local Kids Bazeball Game; the Turtle Bay Beach Party; the Bahia Santa Maria Beach Party with live rock ‘n’ roll; the Cheated Death Again celebration at Squid Roe in Cabo; the Beach Party and Here to Eternity Kissing Contest in Cabo; and the Awards Ceremony in Cabo. You can participate as much or as little as you want in each of them.
As great as the sailing and socializing are, what are two of the biggest reasons people cite for being glad they did the Ha-Ha? 1) Making lifelong sailing friends. And 2) having a firm deadline for actually leaving the dock.
As of this week, there were 79 paid entries. While several of the boats are less than a year old, at least one of them, John Calkins’ Marina del Rey-based Dufour 520 Sea Fox, isn’t even finished yet.
But there are six “oldies but goodies” from the 1960s and 1970s: Antares, Jeff Houseman’s 1977 San Rafael-based Rafiki 37, one of two boats with a transom-hung rudder; OutRun, Shane Engelman’s 1975 Berkeley-based Ericson 35C, the other boat with a transom-hung rudder; Sea Escape, Jack and Kim Mead’s 1974 Richmond-based Yorktown 39, which may or may not be the Yorktown 39 that already did a circumnavigation; and Teaser, Kirk Utter’s 1972 Seattle-based Cal 33.
And from the 1960s, Azure, Rodney and Jane Pimentel’s much-traveled 1966 Alameda-based Cal 40. The oldest and only wood boat signed up so far is Han Verstraete’s Alameda-based S&S 45 Valiant, which was launched in 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the year Marilyn Monroe died, and the year the Beatles released Love Me Do, their first single.
Speaking of the ’60s and ’70s, that’s the age of the majority of skippers and many of the crew in this year’s Ha-Ha. Forever young, baby. Speaking of babies, there are something like 10 “kids” who are already signed up to sail in this year’s Ha-Ha.
There are a number of skippers who will be doing the Ha-Ha for the second or third time, but the one the Poobah finds the most fascinating is Kevin Rooney and his Santa Cruz-based Santa Cruz 40 Kokopelli.
While Bill Lee certainly didn’t design the ultralight Santa Cruz 40 as a cruising boat, that’s the way Rooney has used her. After retiring, he did the 2004 Ha-Ha, then cruised Central America and through the Panama Canal over to Cartagena, Colombia. Next, he headed north to do the East Coast and wintered over in Montauk before taking the Hudson River up to the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Kokopelli was shipped back to Santa Cruz from Chicago.
After a Transpac and two years of cruising the Salish Sea, Kevin Rooney and Rachel Spencer will do the Ha-Ha, spend two years in the Sea of Cortez, and either return home or continue on to Florida. Kokopelli, the un-cruising cruising boat.
No matter what kind of boat you have or how old she is, the Grand Poobah invites you to join Baja Ha-Ha XXVIII, the 750-mile cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with stops in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.
Happy Monday, readers! Welcome to our first Latitude 38 “Question of the Month.” There will be no hints, so you may need to scan your memory banks or sail through the Latitude archives; or you could use that good old lifeline — call a friend. However you get it, put your answer in the comments below …
Question: In the early days, only the Latitude 38 cover was in color. What issue had the first color photos inside?
We look forward to your response.
It was “just the other day” that Alistair Murray was living in San Rafael and bringing Ronstan hardware from the shores of Australia to the US. While here in the early ’90s he raced the company 11M, Ronstan, in John Sweeney’s very cool sponsored ProAm Citibank Cup, which was held right off Pier 39.
Fast forward a few decades and Alistair is now the non-executive chairman of Ronstan, VP of Australia Sailing, and is back home in the Ronstan headquarters of Melbourne, Australia — lying at about latitude 38 south. Alistair recently wrote to say that as his once-active international travel schedule has been severely curtailed by the pandemic, he’s racing a new-to-him Archambault 31 named Arch de Triomphe.
He also wrote in, saying, “Say hi to the crew at Latitude, which I look forward to every month … my favourite [Aussie for favorite] sailing mag in the whole world.”
We checked in with John Sweeney, looking for photos of the 11M fleet, and instead, he sent along a video of one of his early sponsored regattas featuring Paul Cayard, Jeff Madrigali, Dawn Riley, Morgan Larson, Betsy Allison, Carissa Harris, Annie Gardner and other notable sailors of the time. We’d forgotten what a spectacle it was and how much fun they were.
Thanks for the note, Alistair, and for staying in touch across oceans and time.