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September 12, 2022

Sailboat Meets Beach at Dana Point

Dana Point in Southern California is no stranger to sailing, with one of its most famous (but sadly deceased) ships, the tall ship replica Pilgrim, having called the area home for many years. Sadly Pilgrim sank at her dock in 2020. On Saturday, Dana Point lost another sailboat, this time off the beach. Our friend Mitch Perkins was cruising social media sailing pages over the weekend when he came across the following post on Reddit. It appears from the video, and the comments, that the person on board was having a lovely day, fishing off Dana Point… until he realized he was in the wrong spot.

Scott Banister captured the incident as it happened last Wednesday.

The first question we have is, is the person onboard OK? It appears a lifeguard entered the water shortly after the boat capsized — he must have been waiting for it to happen. The lifeguard can be seen dragging a person out of the water, then they both begin to walk up the beach. The person appears to be OK.

Our next question is, why was the boat that close to shore in the first place? One can assume the person aboard was focused on his fishing and not paying attention to his surroundings. Big mistake! The answer to this question has been debated widely on the Reddit thread. Many people believe the mariner had no idea of how to handle his boat. Others have a different view and say he had engine troubles.

We searched the news pages for a report or more information on the grounding but found nothing. Were any of our readers in the vicinity, and do they know anything about the incident?

A couple of the comments that stood out in the Reddit thread talked about the number of sailboats that are washed up onto this, and other, SoCal beaches. Reddit user donorcycle wrote, “This is common around here. Here as in the beach towns. If you’re out and about and something goes wrong with the boat, they head for what they know and unfortunately it’s usually the beach.” And Both-Invite-8857 commented, “I went to school in Santa Barbara and lived in Isla Vista. You’d be surprised at how often we would see this happen. We’d get a yacht on the beach once a month.”

Regardless of how or why this happened, it’s a good reminder to us all to always pay attention to our surroundings.

Property Tax Increases: Are Sailboats the Best Investment of the Past Two Years?

Since fall 2020, when we bought our 1989 Sabre 38 MkII, the major stock market indices are about even. But, according to the Marin County property-tax folks, the value of our boat has climbed almost 30%. We were inspired to look more closely when a local yacht broker told us they were getting frequent requests from boat owners wanting a comp. value for their boat. Depending on the county you live in, the property tax on your boat might have climbed 20-30% over the past couple of years. We heard about one boat in Contra Costa County revalued from $160k in 2021 to $190k in 2022.

Since the pandemic started, we know boat sales have been strong, and brokerage prices for used boats have firmed up and have increased in many cases, but are these property tax valuations a true reflection of what’s going on in the marketplace? Or are county property tax assessors recognizing that all Latitude 38 readers are “rich yachtsmen” who can easily afford tax hikes?

Rich yachtsmen
“Rich” yachtsmen are facing dramatic hikes in property taxes on their yachts.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Owning a sailboat has always been a good investment for your personal health and enjoyment of life, but if property tax authorities are right, sailboats are now also a good financial investment.

Where do the counties get these ideas? We spoke with Torben Bensen of Passage Nautical, who looked into it and forwarded a copy of a letter sent from the State Board of Equalization to county tax assessors, giving guidance to the counties on Vessel Valuation Factors for 2022. In the example they use, a $200k powerboat bought in 2009 and valued at $105k in 2021 becomes valued at $129k in 2022. A new powerboat bought in 2021 for $300k goes up 22% to $366k in 2022. It’s possible, but we all know valuations can vary wildly based on make, model, condition and location, or whether you bought your boat on January 1 or December 31.

We’ve heard of more dock talk on the subject with another anecdote about a new 41-ft sailboat bought in 2021 for $341k being evaluated 21% higher at $413k in 2022. You can contest the value of your boat with your county property tax office; however, it’s easier for them to make blanket proclamations for tax increases than to have their small staffs handle and evaluate a flood of individual contested valuations. We know some have succeeded. We’d be interested in knowing your story, or what your boat property tax experience has been.

If you are looking to rebalance your investment portfolio, it sounds as if it would be best to jump into the market and call a yacht broker from the pages of Latitude 38 today and take a look at the Classy Classifieds. Or check out your tax bill and see if you think your property tax bill squares with reality.

USA Wins SailGP Event in Saint-Tropez

Aussie-American Jimmy Spithill has led his United States team to their first-ever SailGP victory, prevailing in light winds in the finals yesterday. The Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix was held in Saint-Tropez. In the final, Spithill battled Peter Burling’s New Zealand team, who were chasing a third straight event win, and Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain team.

SailGP in St. Tropez
The fleet of 50-ft foiling catamarans sail past the bell tower and old town of Saint-Tropez on Race Day 1 of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera.
© 2022 Bob Martin / SailGP

Saturday’s Speed

Sunday’s conditions contrasted starkly with Saturday’s. On one of the wildest days seen on a SailGP racecourse, the championship speed record was broken twice in the space of three races. The British team hit 99.02 km/hour in the day’s first race. Then the French team, led by Quentin Delapierre, recorded a stunning 99.94 km/hour in the last race of the day to set a new all-time record for the league. The translations to mph and knots are: 99.02 km/hour = 61.5 mph = 53.47 knots; 99.94 km/hour = 62.099 mph = 53.96 knots. Holy c**p! Heck, there are freeways in the Bay Area where you could get a speeding ticket for going that fast.

“I don’t believe today,” said Delapierre. “It was incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it. Breaking the record is super-cool. It’s so good for the confidence of the team, our mindset, and our morale for the weekend.”

Canada F50 nearly capsizes
In Race 2 on Saturday, Canada SailGP Team helmed by Phil Robertson nearly capsized. The speed record-breaking France SailGP Team sailed closely past.
© 2022 Bob Martin / SailGP

Saturday’s Controversy

At the end of Saturday, New Zealand came out on top, winning two of the day’s three races. Jimmy Spithill, a resident of San Diego, ended the day in second place. The end of the first race of the day proved contentious, with Australia’s reaction to a bold maneuver by the New Zealand team seeing them crash down just short of the line when leading. Four boats then overtook them.

New Zealand driver Peter Burling defended his team’s actions after the race and criticized the conduct of series leader Tom Slingsby after the incident. “We were overlapped for a very long time,” said Burling. “They were closing down to us so we were fully within our rights to do what we were doing. It was exactly the same situation with Canada and they got out of the way. I think as drivers we might need to pitch in for some anger management lessons for Tom; I think it’s out of line, the swear words he was saying afterwards on our race management channel.”

Slingsby said the work of the shore and tech teams to repair his boat after the crash in between Race 1 and Race 2 was remarkable, but he was heavily critical of New Zealand. “To me, Pete just coming up at us like that is just unsafe,” said Slingsby. “We are just trying to finish the race here. I just don’t think what he did is worth it for one point, but no doubt he has a different opinion. He’s always had a pretty warped view, so it would be interesting to hear him explain it.”

Sunday’s Final

USA prevailed in the opening fleet race on Sunday, but Race 5 was abandoned. The boats failed to make the race time limit, so the decision was made to go straight to the final podium race instead of the planned Super Sunday format. Unfortunately, Spithill picked up four season penalty points for an incident with the French team in that truncated Race 5. Thus the event win isn’t helping the US in the season standings as much as it otherwise would have.

“It’s fantastic to get that first win,” said Spithill. “It’s been a long time coming. It was just an incredible team effort this weekend, and it’s great to be on the board at last. We have just been working really, really hard since the beginning of this season. We knew we would get there — we just needed to keep learning the lessons and not worry too much about what was said outside the team.”

The French team’s strategist Amélie Riou filled in for the injured Stephanie Roble on the victorious American F50 for the weekend, earning the praise of Spithill for her efforts with his team. “I’m just so happy to win in France,” said Riou. “To do this in front of a home crowd and in front of some really close friends here was a really special moment I’ll never forget. It’s been an incredible weekend for me.”

Victorious US crew
The USA SailGP crew posed with the trophy and Champagne Barons de Rothschild after their win in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera.
© 2022 Ricardo Pinto / SailGP

Season 3 Standings

After five events: 1) Australia, 42 points; 2) New Zealand, 41; 3) Great Britain, 34; 4) Denmark, 33; 5) France, 31; 6) Canada, 29; 7) United States, 25; 8) Spain, 15; 9) Switzerland,12.

In just two short weeks, the league will meet on the water again. SailGP will return to Cádiz, in Andalusia in southwest Spain, on the weekend of September 24-25 for the sixth stop of the season.

Treasure Island Cleanup Day Saturday, September 17

Treasure Island is having a cleanup this coming Saturday. The two-hour event is being organized by the Sailing Science Center and its like-minded partners — One Treasure Island, Treasure Island Sailing Center, and the Treasure Island Development Authority. The Cleanup Day coincides with the 38th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day that is taking place in numerous locations.

Treasure Island cleanup crew
UC Berkeley Sailing Team is bringing a crew of volunteers to help clean up the island. Why not join them?
© 2022 Sailing Science Center

Participants are required to Sign up ahead of the day. Sign up here.

Cleanup equipment and some food will be provided:

  • Garbage Bags
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Antibacterial
  • Small Take-Away Gifts
  • Sandwiches and Drinks

It can be a dirty job, and participants are advised to wear suitable clothing and shoes. Some vests, claws and gloves will be provided. (Perhaps BYO gloves to make sure you have a pair.)

Band together for a successful day to keep Treasure Island beautiful!
© 2022 Sailing Science Center

Learn more about Coastal Cleanup Day and find a cleanup site near you at

Mid-Pacific Rescue
Little did Andy Schwenk know that a small ankle-scrape sustained at the end of the race would turn into a life-threatening infection.