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August 31, 2022

Come to the Crew List Party, and Turn In Old EPIRBs at the Same Time!

This is it — there’s only one more day until sailors from around the Bay and beyond gather together at Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito for the Latitude 38 Crew List Party. Among the partners who will be there to answer your questions about sailing locally or heading south with the Baja Ha-Ha is a team from the US Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center Alameda. They’re a great resource of information, and they have let us know that they will collect your old, out-of-date 406 MHz EPIRBs or PLBs for proper disposal and recycling. Here are the details:

“During the Crew List Party, members from the US Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center Alameda will be on hand to discuss and answer questions pertaining to search and rescue offshore or south of the border as you prepare to participate in the Baja Ha-Ha or Pacific Puddle Jump rallies. 

Additionally, they will be accepting old 406 MHz EPIRBs or PLBs that have been sitting on your shelf or in the storage unit and you have been meaning to throw away.

“This year, Rescue Coordination Center Alameda has responded to 322 SARSAT activations with five being actual vessels in distress. Although a high false alarm rate, Lt.j.g. Madelynn “Maddie” Widmeier, a RCC Alameda SAR Controller, says, ‘The vast majority can be resolved by a quick telephone call to a current owner listed in the NOAA Beacon Registration Database, closing the case and saving valuable SAR resources.'”

Crew Party Beacon Turnin flyer
This is a great opportunity to take care of those old beacons.
© 2022 USCG

“Unfortunately, some activations were the result of improper disposal of the EPIRB. A recent case in San Francisco caused local Coast Guard personnel to search for three hours before the EPIRB was found in a trash bin along the Pier 39 waterfront. ‘These false alerts waste the precious time and resources that should be used for real emergencies,’ Lt.j.g. Widmeier said.

“In an effort to reduce this false alerts, Maddie and her team will be accepting your old 406 MHz EPIRBs or PLBs during the Crew List Party. They will disconnect the battery, remove the beacon from the NOAA Registration Database, and properly recycle all components.”

We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and new at the party. Will you join us? Tickets are available at the door, but we recommend you save time and get them online at L38 Crew Party Tickets.

When you arrive, please do not park at Clipper Yacht Harbor. There is parking around Spaulding Marine Center, and we ask that you please use the map to find your parking place. Parking Map.

Good Jibes With Walt Raineri on Learning To Adapt

This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by Walt Raineri to chat about his incredible story of perseverance and life lessons for fellow sailors. Walt is an attorney, accountant, entrepreneur, extreme-sports athlete, and accomplished match racer. At the age of 45, he lost his sight — and discovered he could reconnect with the planet through sailing and blind match racing. Hear how blind match racing works, what Walt does better now that he’s blind, how to find ways to adapt and keep moving, how to deal with tough moments, and the rules he lives by. This episode covers everything from life lessons to blind match racing.

Walt Raineri - on right
Walt, far right, is an award-winning blind match racer who lives by the motto, “Adapt and keep moving.”
© 2022 Walt Raineri

Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Was Walt born sighted?
  • How did he get into sailing?
  • Do the umpires have a specific sound they make?
  • What is the Swedish Classic?
  • How do you prepare for blind match racing?
  • What is BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors)?
  • How do you become more inclusive?
  • Short Tacks: Who’s inspired Walt the most in his life?

Learn more at

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.

Webb Chiles, and What Comes Next After Living an Epic Life

Shortly before his 80th birthday last year, Webb Chiles wrote us to share his then-budding plans for a high-latitude Atlantic voyage aboard his Moore 24 Gannet. Eager for an update, we checked in with Webb a few weeks ago. “I did make plans to sail to Iceland, but decided against it. The problem wasn’t getting there, but getting back during this ocean’s hurricane season.

“And the motivation: I found it just didn’t mean enough for me to do. This has been a problem ever since I completed the sixth circumnavigation.”

Chiles did hint about a possible “endeavor” in a few years, if both his body and his will align. After setting numerous sailing records, and living an epic life,* Webb Chiles has also arrived at an unexpected destination: his (so-called) Golden Years.

(*”I am pleased with the title, which affirms that I have led an epic life. I am on the record as stating I wanted to. It is gratifying that at least a few believe that possibly I did.”)

Webb Chiles, then 77 years old, in San Diego in late April 2019, after completing his sixth circumnavigation, as well as completing a 40-year phase of his life.
© 2022 Lee Johnson

In 2019, Chiles and Gannet returned to San Diego after departing from there, alone for the duration, in 2014, westbound via Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, St. Helena Island, the Caribbean, Florida and Panama. “For me, it has been not just the completion of that circumnavigation, but as I knew at the time, the completion of the ‘being’ part of my life.”

As he was nearing San Diego three years ago and closing his last loop around the world, Chiles explained in a video that he had divided his life into “longing,” which he called a kind of prelude, and “being,” which he said began when he departed on his first circumnavigation in November 1974, nine days shy of his 33rd birthday. Chiles has written that what truly matters and ultimately defines a human being’s existence occurs within a roughly 40- to 45-year period — for him, it was 33 to 77. On that first circumnavigation, Webb Chiles would become the first American to singlehand around Cape Horn.

“I don’t know how many years I’ve spent out here at sea,” Chiles continued in his video essay. “Probably nine or 10 making passages. It’s strange to look around and think that this is the last day of that part of my life.”

We often talk about the journey, and how it often takes prominence over the destination. But we talk about the destination, too, whether it’s a blue lagoon rimmed by a white-sand beach, or whether it’s a record, or the number of laps sailed around the world.

What sailors rarely talk about, however, is what comes after the journey and the destination. What does one do once they’ve realized their goals? How do sailors with tens of thousands of ocean miles under their belts age with grace and purpose?

Webb Chiles, through the ages.
© 2022 All Photos courtesy Webb Chiles (except top right: Tim Henry)

“Since completing my solo circumnavigation, I have considered numerous paths, but none have captured me,” wrote Roger Wilson in 2018 in a letter titled Letter to an Artist, addressed to his sister, an artist in Portland, Maine.

The letter could easily have been addressed to Webb Chiles.

“During the circumnavigation, I had a purpose and knew exactly what I was doing, [and] felt so connected to what I was doing,” Wilson continued. “The solo circumnavigation was a nicely executed masterpiece, and all of my actions since pale in comparison. I have no idea of what to do next. This is a wall one comes up against.

“You are an artist. You should know.”

“What comes after ‘being?'” Chiles asked rhetorically, as he sailed the last few miles into San Diego in 2019. “Well, the answer is obvious: Dying. Don’t plan on doing that immediately. When I told Carol [Chiles’s wife] about the parts of my life, she said, ‘I think there will be a lot of being in your dying.’ I may make some more passages. I will not circumnavigate again. I’ll write. I’ll love Carol. We’ll see what the next part of my life is.”

Webb Chiles being Webb Chiles.
© 2022 Courtesy Webb Chiles

In his online journal In the Present Sea, Chiles has pondered the “what’s-next” query with equal parts melancholy and contentment. “I am sitting in our living room, where the speakers are best placed, sipping Plymouth gin and trying to understand what I ought to do.

“I do not know that I will ever again do or write anything of value. Carol has said that she is tired of people asking her what I will do next and so tells them I am retired. Someone once said that my job is being Webb Chiles and so the only retirement for me is death, or even worse, being alive and helpless through mental or physical failure.” (In an email, Chiles told us that one of the pieces of the puzzle is that “I am still unusually healthy at 80. If I weren’t, the question of what I ought to do would be a self-solving problem.”)

“For almost all of my life, I had goals. I knew what I needed to do, despite physical hardship, loss of love, and possible loss of life. Yet somehow I am still alive and I no longer do. I do know that though I am among the oldest one percent on the planet, I am still trying to understand what I ought to do.”

Chiles has also been subdued by that most ruthless of adversaries to epic plans and adventure:** comfort. He has written about the pleasures of living in Hilton Head (despite its exceptional heat in the summer), enjoying good single-malt scotch, and the pleasures of a life not at sea. “I like this condo more than any other place I have lived. I live in beauty and serenity, and Gannet is 500 feet away.”

(**”I must comment on the word ‘adventure,'” Chiles wrote us, after seeing a draft of this story in an email exchange. “I have often been called an adventurer, but have never myself claimed to be. One of my lines is: Amateurs seek adventure; professionals seek to avoid them. I have always sought to avoid them. They happen anyway — but planning and preparation keep them to a minimum.”)

Webb Chiles’s current residence in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
© 2022 Webb Chiles

“I accept that I may, like many old men, be delusional in not accepting that my life is over,” Chiles wrote in another post. But I did make the voyages. I did write the words. I did love the women.”

In yet another post, Chiles wrote, “I am a freak of nature. The brain of a scientist in the body of an athlete with the soul of a poet. I note the arrogance of that, but hell, I have lived it. I say that with limited pride because I know I am flawed and a creature of chance, except I take some probably unwarranted satisfaction in having gone the distance with the gifts I was given.

“Now, I have some bad news. No matter how much you continue to use your body, time and gravity will prevail.”

Webb Chiles
Webb Chiles speaks at the Richmond Yacht Club in May 2019, discussing both his sixth circumnavigation and his unique brand of art. (Webb is seen in front of Jim DeWitt’s unique brand of art.)
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim Henry

Webb Chiles added this when we exchanged emails a few weeks ago:

“Earlier this year I solved the problem of what comes next by making a five-year plan. This is my third. The first two were leading up to my first circumnavigation and the five years early in our marriage when Carol and I lived onboard The Hawke of Tuonela in Boston Harbor, preparing to go sailing, which we did in 2001, continuing what was my fourth circumnavigation. This one differs in that the first two were about saving enough money to go. This is less a plan than a decision that, if I am still alive and in good health when I am 85, I will endeavor to perform a certain activity. I don’t mean to be cryptic, but I am not going to say what that is. I don’t like those who talk about what they might do. Better to talk about what you have done. I have told Carol my plan and no one else. And I accept that it may be an illusion. I may still have my health, but lack the will — 2026 will tell.”

You can read about Webb Chiles’ sixth circumnavigation, and his life spent circling the globe, on our website. Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

Racing into September

Labor Day Weekend Choices

This Saturday, September 3, the Jazz Cup, the summer’s last epic run to warmer climes, will sail to Benicia Yacht Club. Register through South Beach YC’s site.

Jazz Cup at Carquinez Bridge
The 2021 Jazz Cup fleet sails into Carquinez Strait en route to Benicia.
© 2022 Martha Blanchfield

As part of an 80th birthday celebration at Richmond YC on September 3-4, the Folkboat class will have some fun races for singlehanders, women helms, fleet veterans and novices. See

Alamitos Bay YC will host a Labor Day Regatta on September 3-4 in Long Beach. Heading in the opposite direction on the California coast, Humboldt YC will host the Redwood Regatta on Big Lagoon on Saturday and Sunday.

Morro Bay YC will host the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals on September 3-5.

The Last Races of Summer (*sigh*)

On September 9-11, RYC will host the Ultimate 20 North Americans, and Tahoe YC’s Laser fleet invites all Laser sailors to a regatta with camping at Stampede Reservoir outside Truckee.

The weekend of September 10-11 brings us the following two-day regattas:

The Yacht Racing Association’s Summer Series and the South Bay Interclub Series will conclude on September 10; YRA’s Shorthanded Sunday Series will conclude on September 11.

St. Francis YC’s Rolex Big Boat Series hits the Bay on September 15-18, but registration closes today at midnight. With 80 boats entered and COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, StFYC is planning for a return to this nearly 60-year-old event’s pre-pandemic scale and splendor. We’ll post a more extensive preview as the event approaches.

Olson 30 Dragonsong off El Granada
Sam McFadden’s Olson 30 Dragonsong sails past El Granada, nearing the finish of the 2021 SSS Half Moon Bay Race.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Singlehanders and doublehanders will race to Half Moon Bay with the Singlehanded Sailing Society on September 17. Also on that day, Berkeley YC’s Cal Cup Windsurfers Series will conclude.

Foiling windsurfers
BYC’s Cal Cup windsurfers foil through the East Bay.
© 2022 Glen Garfein

Richmond YC will host the Mercury Class’s Fall Regatta in conjunction with the Totally Dinghy Regatta on September 17-18. “This regatta is a part of the Paxton Davis Trophy Series,” says the Mercury fleet’s Bill Worden. “So come join us for some fun sailing on the Richmond  Riviera. We will be sailing in Keller Cove, where we expect moderate conditions this time of year. RYC is known for putting on excellent regattas and with their motto being ‘This Club was Built for Fun.’ Please register prior to September 13.”

Ventura YC will run the ILCA Pacific Coast Championships on September 17-18. Also on that weekend, SDYC will host the Beneteau Cup.

Autumn Already?

South Beach YC will celebrate their 10th Red Bra Regatta for women on September 24. Santa Cruz YC invites the following to their Jack & Jill Regatta on the same Saturday: mixed teams, spinnaker, main and jib, doublehanded, family/friends and double dates.

Pogo 36 Ferox, Bay Bridge
Anja Bog’s Sequoia YC-based Pogo 36 Ferox races in the Red Bra Regatta south of the Bay Bridge in 2021.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The Bay Area Vanguard 15 fleet will hold their championship regatta at Inverness YC on Tomales Bay on September 24-25.

Ending September and easing into October will be the J/105 North Americans, hosted by San Francisco YC on September 26-October 2, and the Express 37 Nationals, at Berkeley YC as usual, on September 30-October 2.

We’ve just scraped the surface of what’s available to sailors on the West Coast. For many more races and events, check out our monthly Calendar, now available in the September issue of Latitude 38.

Good Jokes and Good Jibes — The Catalina Comedy Island September 9-10

Come join the first annual comedy event on Catalina Island. As a host of Good Jibes, I have a chance to talk with all kinds of West Coast sailors; not surprisingly, many are familiar with one of my favorite spots in the world, Catalina Island, just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California.

Have you ever been?

If all you need is a good excuse to sail to Catalina Island, I have one for ya! From the creators of the legendary Original Catalina Wine Mixer comes the first-ever Catalina Comedy Island — a two-night event featuring some of the biggest names in comedy.

Hosted at the iconic Catalina Island Casino, headliners include Jeff Ross, Dave Attel and Michelle Wolf on Friday, September 9, and Dana Carvey & Sons on Saturday, September 10. Tickets start at $85, with shows at 9 p.m.

Catalina Island Comedy
Find a mooring and grab a seat for the Catalina Island Comedy on September 9/10.
© 2022 Catalina Island Comedy

If sailing over is not an option, on Saturday night there is an 11:45 p.m. return ferry added if folks want to come back the same day via the Catalina Express. If you are feeling fancy and want to control the wind on your way over, you can check out the Special Offers Page, where you can book through IEX Helicopters, who are offering 20% off seats when you book over the phone!

Catalina Island Casino
If you don’t laugh on the whole sail over to Catalina you’ll laugh all the way home from the world-famous Casino.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Richard

Although you can usually find me anchored in Big Geiger Cove on the west end of the island, a comedy show at the Casino is a great excuse to make a good jibe and sail to Avalon and spend a night moored up for the festivities.

Avalon is a great destination, and the Casino has been a focal point of entertainment and culture since it opened in 1929. Catalina has been attracting Hollywood types since the 1930s. Frequent visitors who worked and played there include Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Joe Schenck, Betty Grable, Norma Shearer, Irving Thalberg, Richard Arlen. Johnny Weissmuller, Humphrey Bogart, and Errol Flynn.

The Casino offers an exceptional backdrop for this truly unique weekend of high-class comedy. And the best part is that as part of the Latitude 38 Nation, you can get a discount on Catalina Comedy Island tickets by using the promo code GOODJIBES10. And that’s no joke!

If Catalina Island is not on your radar, it should be. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, with its warm climate, beautiful blue waters, green mountains and quaint town on the hillside that gives it a Mediterranean vibe. Finish your summer sailing season strong, by making the sail (or hopping onto the Catalina Express) and come laugh at comedians making fun of yacht clubs.

Catalina Two Harbors
Speaking of laughing, if you have more time or are headed toward the Ha-Ha, midweek at Two Harbors on Catalina can be a SoCal cruiser’s delight.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Richard

Before the comedy show, you can stroll along the streets of Avalon for shopping at more than 25 boutique shops, lounge by the beach with cocktails, joyride through the town in golf carts (the preferred mode of transportation for locals), and enjoy beachfront dining at one of the many local eateries. From historic hotels to luxury suites and quaint neighborhood inns, the island has no shortage of accommodations.

Will we see you there?

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website here.