A couple of weeks ago we wrote about Cal Currier, the 16-year-old from Palo Alto who had decided to sail more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from Massachusetts to Portugal. When Cal set out, his intention was not to break any record, but simply to challenge himself and have what Bilbo Baggins would have called a “grand adventure.” However, in doing so, it appears Cal has become the youngest person to sail solo, west to east, across the Atlantic Ocean.
“Cal really just wanted to do this,” his father, James Currier, said. “But about seven days after Cal left, someone asked me if he was the youngest to sail west to east.” And while Laura Dekker was younger than the California teen when she sailed the Atlantic, the family’s research has turned up no evidence of anyone younger than Cal to complete the west-east voyage, solo. “So that was cool for him to find out; until we hear otherwise from someone.”
Cal says his focus was on the journey itself. “What’s more important to me is that I had a blast preparing for the adventure with my dad, grandfather and others, and that the whole thing went off as planned. There was a ton of learning in the whole process.” Yet in some respects, Cal says, he would have liked more challenging conditions.
On his first day out of port Cal was peppered with rain and stormy conditions, providing him a good opportunity to test his mettle for the journey ahead — a beat into a 20-knot southwest wind out of Marion, MA, to get out of Buzzards Bay and out past Nantucket. “The well-known rule is never leave port in a storm,” Cal said, “but I wanted to test the boat and myself to make sure I really wanted to do this.” After that it was plain sailing, until he was three days out of Portugal. There he encountered 25-knot winds, 20-ft seas pounding on his port beam, and a significant increase in freighter traffic (one dark night showed 91 boats on his AIS), and, of course, sleep deprivation.
“I’m glad I lived,” Cal said, “but honestly, I wish there had been more moments of doubt, more times where I was pushed harder. It all went so smoothly.”
In between the hard times, Cal read books, ate through his stores of dehydrated meals (which he said were better than the canned foods he carried), and on one day while motoring through a high in the Azores, he tied a rope to himself and swam off the boat — his only “shower” on the 28-day voyage.
Cal admits to having made some errors along the way, typically around “managing jib lines,” but overall, the months of planning, preparation, good weather updates and onboard redundancies helped ensure that everything went according to plan. James Currier said that when Cal arrived in Lagos, Portugal, the boat was completely intact. “The only thing that had to be replaced was a frayed port jib sheet, which we did for $65 at the clean and awesome marina in Lagos.”
Cal is flying back to Palo Alto this week to get ready for his junior year of high school. And as for further sailing adventures, Cal says he’ll figure that out after he’s done with school. “I’m feeling a bit like Bilbo from The Hobbit right now, where I’m happy to be back in the Shire for a while.”
Can you believe it’s already August? We were just getting into the swing of July! Fortunately, although the month may have changed, the Northern Hemisphere is still due several more weeks of summer, and in many regions, many more weeks of warmth and sunshine. Hopefully you’ll be able to make the most of the season and enjoy a good number of days (and nights, for some) on the water.
The start of August also heralds the latest issue of Latitude 38. If you didn’t wake early and hotfoot it to your local distribution point today, here’s a preview of what you will find inside when you do get your copy…
After an extended break since the last edition of the Pacific Cup in 2018, the race from San Francisco to Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay is back and as good as ever. Sixty boats took on this marathon 2,070-mile ocean crossing beginning on July 4. While the first two days of starts were punctuated by light air just offshore of California, the Thursday and Friday starters found much more favorable conditions, which allowed them to more quickly reach away from the coast.
As improbable as it may sound, The Red Rocket may return someday to a race course near you. At least if Bruce Schwab has anything to say about it. Those who know the Mull 42 Improbable‘s story may have their doubts. Racing again after 50-plus years? Come on. But they will also allow that, when it comes to Improbable, anything is possible.
Conceived in 1969 by Warwick “Commodore” Tompkins, with input from his A-Team crew of mostly Bay Area hotshots (among them Dave Wahle, Skip Allan, Kim Desenberg, Danny Daniels and a 22-year-old Kiwi kid named Ron Holland), the idea was to build a manageable-size boat maximized for downwind racing, with no regard for the then-in-use CCA rule or that newfangled IOR thing.
It might have started with a conversation. I was sailing a Holder 20 back then, my first boat that wasn’t technically a dinghy. “Cool boat,” my friend Carlton said, looking at Fear Knot sitting in the Morro Bay Yacht Club yard, “Nice lines. Looks fast.”
“Yeah. I like it,” I remember saying. “But what Mark and I really want is a Santa Cruz 27. It’s like the father of ultralights. Started the whole thing, and some can be found for about the same price as this Holder 20. But, unfortunately, the club hoist can’t handle them.”
It’s true. Ever since Mark Hilden and I realized that the Santa Cruz 27 packed the most bang for the buck, we’d wanted one. And now we have one, and there are three other SC27s that have joined us.
Also in the August issue:
- Letters: A Storybook Ending; Lighten Up, People; The Blooper Heyday; This Year’s Winners of the Race to Alaska; and more.
- Racing Sheet: YRA Westpoint Regatta; BAMA Doublehanded Farallones; OYRA Race Committee’s Choice; El Toro North Americans; and other racing news.
- Sightings: The Honeys’ Last Encore With Illusion; Palo Alto Teen’s Solo Atlantic Crossing; and other stories.
- Max Ebb: Ride It Hard and Put It Away Wet.
- Changes In Latitudes: Eliana — The Experience of a Lifetime; Althea — The Longest 90 Seconds of My Life; plus stories from other cruising sailors and a tasty aperitif of Cruise Notes.
- Loose Lips: Check out the July 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 August 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.
40′ to 45′ foot slips are now available at $9.97/ft. www.ci.vallejo.ca.us
Owl Harbor Announces New Date for Roaring Day in the Delta
In mid-July, a wave of positive COVID tests prompted Owl Harbor Marina to postpone their planned Roaring Day in the Delta, which had been scheduled for July 30. The staff is well now and has rescheduled the date for their big shindig to Saturday, August 27.
“We are all back in the saddle and very excited to have a new date for the party,” writes Devery Stockon, harbormaster of Owl Harbor. “Hope you can make it, and please remember, you do need to RSVP again even if you did the first go around. We want to make sure we have plenty of everything for everyone.” To go to the party, RSVP to [email protected] by August 15. If you’re not already booked for a slip in Owl Harbor, contact the office at [email protected] or (916) 777-6055 to reserve yours.
The party has a Roaring ’20s/casino theme, and the day will include a dinghy poker run, games, and a complimentary buffet. It’s open to Owl Harbor tenants and Delta Doo Dah fleet members who reserve a slip for the night (or, as is often the case, much longer).
Owl Harbor is located on Sevenmile Slough, near the San Joaquin River and on Isleton’s Delta Loop, where the farms meet the water. Alongside the good sailing, swimming, paddling, fishing and other watery pleasures, you’ll find chickens, farm-fresh produce, friendly pets and shaded grass with BBQs perfect for picnicking.
Delta Doo Dah at Delta Bay Marina
Before the Owl Harbor event, in mid-August, we’ll be heading over to Delta Bay Marina for a weekend of fun. Delta Bay is also on Isleton’s Delta Loop, and right off the San Joaquin. The first 20 Delta Doo Dah boats can reserve a slip for free for the weekend. (We emailed fleet members the link and code to get a slip.) Visitors can also come by car to Delta Bay.
Here’s a reminder of the schedule:
Friday, August 12: Optional cruise-in arrival date.
- 10:30 a.m.: Presentation on Clean Boating and the Pumpout App, by S.F. Estuary Partnership and Division of Boating and Waterways.
- 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: BBQ lunch prepared by Peninsula Yacht Club.
- 1 p.m.: Delta history talk by Commodore Bill Wells of the California Delta Chambers.
- 2 p.m.: Harbormaster talk by Delta Bay’s own harbormaster, Eric Chiu.
- 3 p.m.: Things to Know Before You Go talk by veteran cruisers and authors Pat and Carole McIntosh.
- All day: Demos on solar boats, propane outboards, free paddleboard lessons.
- 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Sunday Market. Fresh produce and farm products, arts and crafts and books for sale, live music, lunch available to purchase.
Longtime cruisers Carole and Pat McIntosh will present a special Delta Doo Dah edition of their popular cruising seminar, Things to Know Before You Go on Saturday afternoon. We especially invite members of this year’s Baja Ha-Ha fleet — and prospective Ha-Ha sailors. This seminar will be of interest to them. And we encourage cruisers traveling south from northern climes to escape the chilly, foggy coast and sail inland for some summer fun in the sun.
Sign Up for the Delta Doo Dah
Not signed up for the Delta Doo Dah yet? Whatcha waitin’ for? Summer’s zooming past! Register for free at www.latitude38.com/delta-doo-dah.
When you register, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a Delta Doo Dah 14 burgee. We encourage you to fly your flag so that we and our marina hosts can spot you, and so that your fellow rally cruisers can spot you too! We also have souvenir can cozies to help your beverage of choice keep its cool.
In our May 2022 issue, racer/cruiser Jimmy Peter wrote about a ride he scored from our Crew List to crew on a cruising boat from San Diego to the Marquesas. It was a blast. Jimmy has also done about 25,000 miles of ocean racing. Then again, he did the 2011 Baja Ha-Ha and spent a year cruising aboard his own Pacific Seacraft 37 Island Time. After returning from the Marquesas, he reflected on the differences between racing and cruising and what he likes about each. Share your own thoughts in our comments section below.
I participated in the 2011 Ha-Ha on my boat SV Island Time. The Ha-Ha was fun, and commuter-cruising outa La Paz for the next year was even better. I never made it to the mainland… too much to see and do on the Baja side!
After selling my Pacific Seacraft 37 in 2014, I’ve been race-oriented with some 25k-plus miles of Atlantic and Pacific offshore racing. I have just rediscovered the joys of cruising as opposed to racing to a destination.
Racing and cruising sailors aren’t mutually exclusive, but we sure have a different mentality and approach.
Here’s a list of differences I’ve noticed. I’m guessing readers may have other inputs.
1. Hot bunking versus my own bunk (why did bunky crawl into the sleeping bag with salty foulies and wet boots?).
2. Watches are 3 hours on and off versus 4.5 on and 7.5 off.
3. Tired versus relaxed and well-slept.
4. Watches that are speed-focused versus a watch looking out for shipping while reading a Kindle or listening to music.
5. Hand steering thousands of miles versus autopilot. (Remember driving downwind with no light-horizon.)
6. Trimming and tweaking sails for an extra 1/4 knot versus the sails seem happy and the boat is mostly balanced. “Leave ‘em alone.”
7. Sail for speed versus comfort and a less rolling motion.
8. Sail changes at all hours versus let’s talk about a sail change or tacking for a couple of days before we do anything. Maybe tomorrow.
9. Freeze-dried meals (shovel in with a spoon and hot sauce) versus a fresh-cooked meal and needing a knife, fork, spoon and condiments.
10. Mini candy bars and hard candy versus fresh guacamole and chips for watch snacks.
11. Shower every four days versus unlimited. (Racing — we all stink at the same level, so no one notices.)
12. Head for nine people versus a head for three (‘nuff said).
Racing kinda sucks, but it sure is fun. Cruising is kinda boring, but it sure is fun.
I’ll crew for you. Cheers, Jimmy Peter, Currently Boatless, Malibu, CA [email protected].
How about others who race and cruise? One of the magic things about boats designed in the ’60s and ’70s is they were created as “racer/cruisers” and people actually did both with them. One of the most famous is the Cal 40. Following are three local Cal 40s that have been successfully raced and cruised.
Who else is racing and cruising aboard their cruiser/racer?