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June 20, 2022

Sailor Dies in Newport Bermuda Race

The Newport Bermuda Race has announced that Colin Golder, from New Providence, N.J., has died after going overboard. The Fleet Communications Office received a report from the crew of the 42-ft sloop Morgan of Marietta during the afternoon of June 19 that their captain had gone overboard.

The fleet was approximately 325 miles from Bermuda and experiencing strong winds. After extensive effort the crew was able to retrieve Mr. Golder’s body. Mr. Golder’s next of kin has been informed.

The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, the Cruising Club of America, and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club wish to express sincere condolences to the family and crew of Mr. Golder.

Officials said further details will be provided as they become available.

Last week we wrote about Stan and Sally Honey’s entry in the race, and can only imagine the conditions they might be facing. Though according to the latest report, a dozen boats have now reached the finish line, and as the bulk of the fleet closes in on the final 100 miles the winds are “getting lighter making the last bit the slowest.”

We offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Golder’s family and the crew of Morgan of Marietta.

Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth

This is the first year we celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday recognizing the date, June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery and the Civil War to enslaved African Americans. On the occasion of this holiday we also want to recognize all the people and organizations in sailing who have been working hard to change both the perception and reality of diversity within sailing. Starting at the top, US Sailing has been redoubling its efforts over the past several years to improve outreach and grow diversity within sailing so that the world of sailing looks more like America.

US Sailing Juneteenth
US Sailing created this art to celebrate Juneteenth.
© 2022 US Sailing

Prior to the pandemic, we attended the last US Sailing conference in San Diego, with a primary focus on addressing diversity within sailing. It was enlightening and inspiring to see the leadership role US Sailing was taking, and to see the many attendees from programs around the country who have been leading and embracing this effort for years.

Beyond the national efforts we’ve been covering the many programs that have taken the lead on diversity for decades. Carisa Harris-Adamson and the Treasure Island Sailing Center have been working hard for two decades to provide access to sailing to underserved Bay Area kids. They offer scholarships to 80% of the participating students, while providing life-altering experiences as they’ve expanded the horizons of kids who never would have been able to explore the Bay in a way sailors can take for granted.

TISC Sailing School
TISC has brought the experience of sailing to thousands of kids who never would have had the chance otherwise.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

There are numerous other programs around the Bay and up and down the coast that have integrated their programs with conscious focus and outreach efforts to create a more inclusive sailing world. Pegasus Voyages in Berkeley has been doing outreach for years with the motto of “No child left ashore.” Mary SwiftSwan of Afterguard Sailing has been putting in tireless efforts on the Oakland Estuary for years. The Bluewater Foundation has had a long-term focus on filling its boats with youth from underserved locations.

Mary Swift Swan
Mary SwiftSwan has shared her love of sailing with an endless crew of appreciative, budding new sailors.
© 2022 Afterguard Sailing

While there’s a long way to go before sailing truly evolves from its historically white heritage, you will see the evolution in the Bay Area’s commercial sailing schools. A visit to Club Nautique or Modern Sailing Academy shows far more diversity in membership and class participation. There are many more schools and community sailing programs on the leading edge of teaching sailing that show a much more diverse profile than the traditional yacht club world.

At Latitude 38 we’ve been trying to be more inclusive and representative of the full spectrum of sailing participation. We have been more attentive to seeking out the stories of underrepresented people within sailing. These are inspiring stories of people who have broken barriers or who are just having a ton of fun sailing while they also help others discover the pleasure and growth that come with sailing. Our recent story of pioneering sailor Marie Rogers, past commodore of the Los Angeles Yacht Club, or our recent podcast with Captain Donald Lawson, US Sailing’s chairman of its DEI committee, are but two examples of stories we’ve covered recently. In the past, we might have missed these stories, and they were perhaps harder to find.

Captain Donald Lawson
Captain Donald Lawson aboard his ORMA 60 Defiant on San Francisco Bay.
© 2022 Randall von Wedel

On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas discovered they finally had their freedom. We know freedom is a word that resonates strongly with every sailor as, for ourselves and most sailors we speak with, a sense of freedom is one of the primary emotions we feel when we set our sails to be powered along by the wind. We salute the efforts of all people and organizations who are doing their best to be more inclusive and to welcome more people to the joy of sailing. Like sailing, the progress often feels slow, but the course is clear. Happy Juneteenth.

‘To Starlink or Not,’ That Is the Baja Ha-Ha Question

One of the requirements for the Baja Ha-Ha participants is to have a long-range two-way communication device, and some may be considering the Starlink. For those who are, the Starlink does not meet the mandatory communication-device requirements. But the Ha-Ha’s Grand Poobah has done the research and gives us a good rundown of the Starlink’s pros and cons so you can decide whether you want to add the device to your sailing kit. The Poobah says it’s a “definite ‘maybe’.”

Starlink, of course, is Elon Musk’s ultra-high-speed internet system from satellites. With shipping, it costs about $600, and the unlimited service is $100/month. Multiple devices can be connected at once.

On one hand, Starlink will not qualify as the mandatory long-range two-way communication device for the Ha-Ha. That’s because while it may work offshore some of the time, it’s not set up for that yet. And there are indications that it’s “geo-fenced” from 12 miles offshore of normal service areas.

On the other hand, it should work fabulously at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria, and anywhere where one’s boat is within a dozen or so miles of shore. And after the Ha-Ha? Wow! If you’re going up to the Sea after the Ha-Ha and want to stay in touch or work from your boat, it’s proving to be a real game changer.

In this situation you could probably just shout to your neighbors, but when everyone starts dispersing, you might need a better system,
© 2022 Baja Ha-Ha

Oddly enough, Starlink doesn’t show coverage between La Paz and Puerto Escondido. Yet users have reported it works fabulously, both at anchor and underway between those two places. Similarly, the coverage map shows no coverage in the Vallarta area, but we’ve received reports that it works great there, too.

So, where Starlink works and where it doesn’t work is a little fuzzy, but it seems to work in more areas than claimed. Overpromising is a good thing.

Of course, if you’re going cruising to get away from all the bullshit, you won’t want Starlink.

Up until recently, there were two big problems with Starlink. First, you couldn’t get one. Second, you couldn’t “roam” with one outside your relatively small “service area.” Good news on both fronts.

The key is to not try to order a Starlink giving a “service area” in a populated area, like L.A., S.F., San Diego, Vallarta, or anything like that. You’ll be told to try again in 2023. The solution is to pick a “service area” in the middle of nowhere, and a shipping address wherever you want. We picked somewhere in Nevada as our “service area” but had the device shipped to our son in L.A. Whap! FedEx delivered ours in less than a week. And don’t worry, nobody at the “service area” address will ever be contacted or shipped anything.

The other good news is that Starlink now allows “roaming” outside  one’s “service area,” so the service area doesn’t mean much of anything. True, when you are out of your service area you are warned you may find yourself at the bottom of the list if they are having problems with bandwidth, but to date, we haven’t heard of anybody who has had that problem. In addition, Starlink owner Elon Musk has recently tweeted that he’s going to allow roaming.

Currently, there are about 1,800 Starlink satellites in the sky, about a quarter of the ultimate total. The system is going to get better and better, with more coverage all the time.

For what it’s worth, Musk rushed 10,000 free Starlinks to Ukraine as soon as Russia attacked. Ukraine reports 150,000 users a day, and Russia has been unable to curtail communications. Free speech!

The bottom line is that Starlink will not qualify for the Ha-Ha offshore communication requirement. You’ll need an InReach, Iridium GO!, SSB radio, or other device that can communicate via SMS text at all times.

Nonetheless, you may want to get a Starlink for the times it will work on the Ha-Ha, such as getting midterm election results when the fleet is in Bahia Santa Maria.

(Does anyone remember the time the Poobah had to report to the fleet in Bahia Santa Maria that there was no result in the Gore-Bush presidential race? Or the time Trump won? With Starlink you should be able to get the news yourself.)

The other thing about the Starlink package is that the package is less than two feet by two feet, and is light. You can “commuter cruise” with it. It’s also “plug and play.”

Baja Ha-Ha Starlink
So much technology in such a relatively small box!
© 2022 Richard Spindler

Registration for the Baja Ha-Ha is open now. To date there are 82 boats signed up. If you want to join the fleet, get onboard now at

The Ha-Ha departs San Diego on October 31 and concludes in Cabo 13 days later. Should you do one? We think the overwhelming majority of the 10,000+ who have done it would say “yes.”

This will be the Poobah’s 27th Baja Ha-Ha, and he wouldn’t miss it for anything, Starlink or no Starlink!

SailGP Shines in Chicago

This weekend’s exciting SailGP event in Chicago was first and foremost a game changer on many different levels as the high-speed foiling catamaran series comes of age.

SailGP fleet start
The fleet of foiling 50-ft catamarans is all lined up at the start.
© 2022 Ricardo Pinto / SailGP

The turnout and crowds were massive on a glorious weekend in the Windy City, where the winds are anything but predictable, but the results were. Tom Slingsby and Team Australia dominated the event — again.

The track in Chicago has been described as a “NASCAR bullring,” with an outer harbor entry for the start past the break walls and lighthouse into the inner harbor racecourse. Half the fleet opted to stay inside for a tactical placement advantage rather than the alternative, where maybe only one or two of the flying F50s can build for speed.

The finish line was right in front of the packed grandstands at the end of the historic Navy Pier. The boats literally have to tack and splash in a heartbeat, to the complete amazement of the crowd.

Chicago's Navy Pier
The setting off Chicago’s Navy Pier is perfect for stadium sailing.
© 2022 Mark Reid

Day 2 at Chicago SailGP

On the second day of racing, the 29-meter wings were snapped in for light airs. Race director Iain Murray opted to move the racing outside the break walls on a lumpy and windier course on the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan.

While the America’s Cup lies dormant, the sailing superstars continue to take advantage of SailGP’s growing popularity. Slingsby has as many passports as SailGP championships, and has been able to sign up as helmsman for American Magic.

He continued to smoke the field on the racecourse, capturing his third straight event, though the new kids on the block from Canada dominated the weekend’s headlines.

“I knew mathematically that it was possible to make the final race. Sure enough the points worked our way,” said Slingsby. “[The crowd] want a new winner but our job is to win events.”

On the pivotal second day of racing, the Aussies, who were lurking in fourth place just a few points behind New Zealand, didn’t get off to the start they were hoping for in the first race.

“The mood was terrible, and that was on me,” said Slingsby. “I had overruled our wing trimmer, Kyle Langford, on making a tack. It turned out to be a really bad mistake, as we lost three positions on the final leg of the first race.”

Slingsby, who is known as the “Red Mist” for his passion (temper), quickly took a few moments between races to reset.

“The guys know I am fiery, and I was so frustrated. I stew over bad decisions and I’m always thinking about what I could have done better,” explained Slingsby. “In the past we had about 30 minutes between races. Now we have about eight! We got off to a good start in the next race to capture the win and the final spot in the podium finale.”

The New Zealand team were stunned to be knocked out at the last minute, as they splashed down one too many times, in a minefield of wind holes on a patchy racecourse. (Sound familiar?)

Slingsby made the most of the three-boat final against the Canadians and Sir Ben Ainslie’s GBR team. He darted in front at the start to capture the favored pin end of the line. As in the last several podium races, it was over before it started.

AUS SailGP crew
For Tom Slingsby and his triumphant Australian team, it’s all handshakes, high fives and autographs.
© 2022 Ricardo Pinto / SailGP

The Canadians, who inherited Team Japan’s fast boat when the latter came up short on sponsorship, have made the most of the opportunity by bringing Phil Robertson on board as skipper and borrowing flight controller Chris Draper.

Canada, whose hockey teams fell short in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, has been infused with SailGP fever. The country sent multiple delegations from Halifax, Vancouver and Kingston to vie for hosting rights for an event next year. The Canadian cities should get a shot to host, as they had much to cheer for — Robertson and his crew proved hard to beat all weekend until the final podium race, when it counted the most.

Canada SailGP boat
O Canada! I think skipper Phil Robertson and the Canadians “own” Chicago now.
© 2022 Mark Reid

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for San Diego’s Jimmy Spithill and his largely West Coast Team USA crew. Spithill has been on his back foot for the most part ever since an untimely collision with the Spanish team in San Francisco during the Season 2-ending podium finale earlier this year.

It was a disappointing weekend for the Americans as they gave the home court away to the exuberant Canadian crowd. “One of our biggest challenges all weekend was just getting around the reach mark in decent shape. We were always in the back of the pack,” said Spithill. “We are not sailing well, and we are making way too many errors. We are not going to hide from it. We literally have no excuse. There is nothing wrong with the boat.”

USA SailGP team splash
It was a splashdown reality weekend for Jimmy Spithill and Team USA. It will get better!
© 2022 SailGP

I had the privilege of photographing Race Day 1 on Candela USA’s all-new computer-controlled foiling power boat, which was being delivered to its new owner in Chicago. Its pilot/driver, Tanguy de Lamotte, lives in Sausalito.

Candela foiling
The new all-electric foiling powerboat from Candela.
© 2022 Mark Reid

SailGP moves across the pond to Plymouth, England, next month for Season 3’s third event on July 30-31.

Waves of Improvement Are Transforming the Berkeley Marina

Berkeley Marina

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.

Race to Alaska's Washington to BC Leg
The day before the Race to Alaska started, Race HQ extended the time window for racers to complete Stage One to Victoria by a full 24 hours. Why?